Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Why I Quit OS X – Geoff Wozniak (wozniak.ca)
454 points by jpace121 on Jan 4, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 495 comments

I haven't quit it, but the problems, annoyances, surprises, seeming ineptitude, and creeping iOSification of OS X that the author describes sure do resonate.

Every new major release of OS X is a day or week spent disabling things, shutting down Spotlight again, trying to restore things back to the way they were instead of the way some Designer with a capital D thinks they should be, for no other reason than, "Beauty."

I just dread the idea of moving to Linux again. I don't want to tinker that much. But I am worried sick that OS X is dying, in the sense that it's becoming a platform to deliver people to Apple's (and partners') cloud services and sharing services and that's it. Screw all of that.

One major shot across the bow was the loss of "Save As..." and the change to "Duplicate". WTF, Apple? I now have to do 10 extra steps just to Save As.

It feels like Apple is abandoning its longtime users, the master users, the users who've climbed the pyramid, who've achieved a lot of game levels. It's just going after that huge base of newbies and midlevel people who don't notice or complain about all the changes that really, truly are not improvements. They're just changes. That's the problem in a nutshell: OS X changes because there's new management that wants to put its stamp on things, regardless of whether it improves the productivity of the user or not.

Why do people update OS X? Just curious. If it works how you like, why update it? Security flaws are probably the main reason, but isn't there a way to get those without acquiescing to an OS redesign?

Because you have to: OSX doesn't have much of a culture of backwards compatibility, and every update tends to pressure developers into the latest greatest thing. Maintaining old software is just not a cultural value.

Once the developers move, the users pretty much have to. I have an iMac from 2009. I had two OS's on it. Windows 7? Everything still works there. Runs fast, new software is great, etc. OSX 10.6.8? DEAD. It's basically useless. I guess it's nice that apple offers free upgrades, except that they mysteriously make a system that used to be lightning fast extremely slow, even though other OS's seem to run just fine..

I am running snow leopard on a 2009 mac pro.

It works perfectly. I have zero complaints or issues. It's no problem at all.

I use chrome and terminal for most of my work, but I do run itunes and vmware fusion and run some apps that give me a tiled interface and focus-follows-mouse.

No problems at all. I couldn't be happier.

I am sure it would all go to hell if I got a current model and tried to run SL on it ...

Snow Leopard is no longer receiving security updates; that'd give me pause in anything but a very firewalled desktop installation.

I upgraded SL -> Mavericks a few months ago when it stopped receiving security updates.

It's slightly worse (I don't like mission control, messages is useless to me) but not as bad as Lion (i.e. you'll just need to disable the stupid scroll behaviour, but performance is good).

On the plus side, you get the option to use new software developed for "10.7+" (heroku's db client, atom editor, swift etc)

Apple has a pretty vicious hardware/software upgrade treadmill.

I resisted updating 10.4 for years; IMO that was the high water mark for OS X, everything has basically been downhill from there. If I could still run 10.4 plus bugfixes and security updates, with modern software, I would.

But that's not possible. They push out new versions of the OS, along with new versions of development tools, which produce software that's not backwards-compatible past a certain point, such that eventually you can't run new software without installing major (0.1) updates. Apple's own products are the worst for this, but eventually you lose 3rd party apps as well.

Even if you resist the demands of new software, you'll eventually get forced to upgrade via hardware. Each generation of Apple hardware has a minimum OS version, keeping you from going back too far. For instance, Mac Pro "quad core" and 8-core systems won't run OS 10.4; Nehalem-based machines won't run 10.6. And Apple has purposely killed off its compatibility layers, dropping first the Classic environment and more recently Rosetta, in order to introduce barriers to running old software.

It's pretty frustrating as a user.

Classic/Rosetta were dropped during the moves to x86 and 64-bit. Given that almost all software was upgraded I can see why Apple didn't think the effort was worth it. And for all we know it could've been technically impossible.

Not sure why you're getting downvoted. I stuck with 10.6 until Linux. Took a look at anything past Lion... "nope!". I despised 10.8 enough to actually downgrade my 2012 MBP to 10.6.

But as for "why update" - up until 10.6, there were performance improvements as well as useful features (subjective -I know- fine).

As for "why update nowadays" - well, 10.6 isn't really supported nowadays. (cough Java 7 cough)

Yep, 10.6.8 was the best OS X ever, and I'd still be running it if I could.

Blame Oracle for Java 7 not working on older OS releases.

Apple stopped maintaining Java at version 6.

Both were Apple's choice. Apple's Java 6 relied on proprietary interfaces that were not part of the contribution to OpenJDK. Oracle could not have even recreated the Java 6 MacOS port. The other big reason was that new MacOS versions were only x64 and going to the trouble of making a 32 bit port for only obsolete OSes was a non-starter.

The reason--the only reason--I'm seriously considering upgrading from 10.6 is that new programs increasingly don't support it anymore. I download a simple little helper app and it says "The program requires OS X 10.8 or higher."

My best guess is that programmers build with the latest libraries, and the latest libraries require the latest OS version. If the dev is running on the latest version, it never crosses his mind to do otherwise.

I did the same thing recently, and I've hated it since. 10.7 removed Rosetta, broke "Save As", and annoyified the Save dialog.

But there were just too many pieces of software that wouldn't run, and unpatched security holes didn't seem like a good idea either.

To add insult to injury, Apple doesn't allow you to virtualize non-server versions of 10.6. You can, thankfully, hack VMWare Workstation and keep running your previous machine's image that way, but it's shitty that you have to jump through those hoops. It seems geared specifically towards keeping people from continuing to use their old apps.

> If the dev is running on the latest version, it never crosses his mind to do otherwise.

New and/or updated frameworks/APIs [1] make the developer's job easier. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of them?

[1] https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/releasenotes/MacOSX/...

I'd like to keep 10.6 support in the open source app I help out with but there are so many improvements in 10.7 and 10.8 from a developer point of view that the latest release will be the last to support 10.6 (and 32-bit macs). By improvements I mean genuine time saving features like base localisation, not "ooh shiny dot syntax!".

Until a version is EOL'd, sure, and that's what I've been doing. But 10.6 was EOL'd in late 2013, and by early 2014 at the latest it had unpatched major flaws, so I had to upgrade to 10.9.

So Windows has become more sane than OS X in terms of security updates?

EDIT: Windows 7 was released in 2009 and is still receiving security updates. 10.6 was released in 2011 and has been EOL'd. Seeing as both people still want to use these products, but one group is being forced not to, that's why I'm saying OS X is taking a less sane stance than Windows.

Is this false?

OS X upgrades are free, more like Windows Service Packs in a way. Microsoft also drops support for pre-SP versions of Windows after a time. The clock is ticking for Windows 8.0; you have to upgrade to 8.1.

Free upgrades can still come at a cost.

Multi-monitor full-screen was broken from 10.7 through 10.8. Thousands complained, Apple claimed it a feature.

Not fixable, not tweakable, not reversible. 10.6 or one full-screen monitor at a time.

Fuck off, Apple.

I worked on the full screen feature in 10.7 through 10.9!

Full screen in 10.7 and 10.8 did render secondary displays useless. But it was a new feature in 10.7, so there was nothing to reverse. You can't take Safari, Mail, etc. full screen in 10.6.

Perhaps there was an app you used that switched from a custom full screen implementation to the system one, and so regressed on secondary displays?

VLC, iTerm (& Terminal? I think), Chrome, Firefox, ... Most things I used had some sort of full-screen mode that was then "hijacked" by 10.7's native full-screen mode. I say "hijacked" because even versions that were pre-Lion would somehow end up using the native "feature".

The thing to reverse would have been the "switch to new workspace when full-screening" - or at the very least make it optional. Certainly not respond "that's a feature" and close as "working as expected" when thousands complain.

I failed to see the value in that feature even with a single screen. An action that used to happen instantaneously now took 1-2s. and a dizzying sliding animation. (Many a flow was lost to toggling full-screen by accident - whereas previously you could toggle/toggle back immediately without losing your mental state - surely you appreciate that as a developer?).

Ok, I get it: you don't like how the system full screen integrates with workspaces, and you were peeved when other apps adopted it in place of their own implementations. Of course Apple did not "hijack" anything: full screen support has always been strictly opt-in. But apps would feel pressure to adopt the system implementation.

Full screen was an effort to make OS X more usable on small displays - recall that the 11" MacBook Air had just shipped. It didn't make much sense for media playback apps to adopt the system full screen mode, especially as it was in 10.7-8.

I would have loved to enable a system mode where full screen windows could coexist in the same workspace as unrelated windows, but this would have been a new feature, not something we could have achieved by reversing anything. And eventually Apple did enable a new mode, which was what shipped in 10.9.

Oh, and if you filed a bug, then whoever closed it as "working as expected" made a mistake. There was a (heavily duped) bug tracking the uselessness of secondary displays in FS, and it was closed when 10.9 shipped. I may even have been the one to close it, I don't remember.

Of course Apple did not "hijack" anything: full screen support has always been strictly opt-in. But apps would feel pressure to adopt the system implementation.

This doesn't make much sense, does it? Obviously apps adopt the system implementation. The problem the OP is talking about is that the system implementation became pretty weird, broke some apps that used to work just fine (especially lots of xquartz ones), and thought that the best use for your extra monitors was to just display a dark gray pattern.

Personally, I learned to live with it (sigh, uncheck "displays have separate spaces"), but it does seem like a good example of Apple shoving a half-baked idea out the door.

QuickTime and iTunes. I used to watch tv or a movie on one of my displays while coding on another. Instead I got to watch linen one screen while watching a movie (double whammy here because even showing pure black on the other screen would have been better since at least it wouldn't distract from the video).

I can't specifically recall, but I think the same was true of full screening video content from Safari (perhaps technically a "plugin feature", but maybe html5 video was around?), but QuickTime was 100% an apple regression.

I have no idea how the full-screen mode is supposed to work or what it is supposed to be good for; I just know that every now and then I fat-finger something and accidentally invoke it, at which point whatever single window I happened to be using zooms to take over one of my monitors, while the other monitor turns grey and useless. I don't understand how this could ever be a useful feature.

> Fuck off, Apple.

Log off, user.

I took it personally because my vendor condescendingly told me that the fact that I can't use my environment (multi-monitor) the way I wanted (full-screening applications) was actually a feature. Apple was telling me to STFU or GTFO.

So I did the latter :)

All you can do is seek your own joy. Expecting others to do that for you is setting expectations. Not sure why I got the downvotes, but I'm happy you got free of OSX. I'm still hanging in there...for now.

How was it broken ?

It worked exactly the same as before only Apple added full screen mode which didnt work in an ideal way. But guess what you don't have to use it. Just maximise your windows normally or use one of the many free tools to do it via keystrokes.

But yeh fuck Apple for offering free OS upgrades that are completely optional.

Windows 7 will be supported through 2020 according to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/lifecycle

The updates are free.

Did you read what I said about OS X upgrades being like Service Packs? Did you read your link?

> Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013.

A service pack doesn't completely redesign how people interact with Windows, though. But OS X "service packs" tend to do just that. In fact, that was the author's frustration.

Seeing as OS X service packs also come out very frequently, whereas Windows are very rare, I'm not sure the two are comparable.

I should probably bow out now. I just thought it was interesting.

Bow out if you will, but I've agreed with everything you've said thus far and don't think you made any false/slanderous/etc statements.

I think the principle attribute that determines how long support lasts is the cost to get to the next supported version and not anything to do with feature differences. Apple made the decision to give away upgrades precisely so they could move people off old versions I suspect.

They'd be like Service Packs if Service Packs broke backwards compatibility and changed core functionality of the OS, which they typically don't. They are not analogous.

Is it meaningful to compare it to a service pack when there are significant changes such that they're driving users away?

I believe 10.6 was released in 2009, not in 2011[1]


>10.6 was released in 2011

Wikipedia says 10.6 was released August 28, 2009.

xcode 5 requires you to update OSX

Desktop Linux is mostly install an work. I have not done any tinkering for a long time.

But the Yosemite upgrade on laptop brought back my memories of initial Ubuntu distributions. I had disable few setting to get some performance. I had to change few UI setting to get a decent look. It looks a transition phase OS.But ubuntu on that m/c had few touch pad issues otherwise it would have been the default OS for me on the laptop.

> Desktop Linux is mostly install an work.

It is...until it isn't. Nine out of ten Ubuntu or Mint installs will go off without a hitch, with no weird issues or regressions, and a warm, friendly, comfortable development environment welcomes you. Then there's that one time you install it on your laptop so you have a to-go environment that matches your workstation, and BOOM! your wifi isn't recognized (what year is it again??) or your sound card sputters (damn you PulseAudio!), or your hybrid graphics screws the pooch. Hell, I built this workstation I'm typing on with GNU/Linux and BSD compatibility first in my mind, and I still had issues with some hardware right off the bat. Nothing that can't be fixed with some fiddling, but it's annoying as hell.

Yes, all of the above issues can be fixed, just like the issues you dealt with in OS X. It's a computer, after all; Garbage In (Apple/Linux/BSD developers), Garbage Out. And don't get me started on Windows 8.x; it's finally becoming usable daily, but there are a million reasons I chose to stick with 7 for Windows-specific work, and wait it out until 10 ships.

Apple broke the cardinal rule: If it isn't broken, stop fixing it! They want to innovate and improve and conquer the world, fine; but they need to remember that they had the best OS X release with Snow Leopard (and in my personal opinion, that was the best desktop OS period). In their rush to wow the masses, they broke their OS for those of us who use it to be productive and creative.

At this stage, I feel that a good old fashioned, stable OS like FreeBSD or Slackware Linux or Debian is the best choice for a solid 'nix workstation, something you can get real work done on. But ever since Lion was released, I would rather use Windows Vista on a Core Solo machine than OS X on any Mac.

I dual boot windows and ubuntu. They both have their good points and their bad points.

> Nine out of ten Ubuntu or Mint installs will go off without a hitch

Even when the installs go off without a hitch, there are always lingering pain in the ass problems and they're all related to buggy drivers, bad UI tools and dependency hell. Every time I think about making my own distro, I come back to those three big problems and think: the last two are fixable. The drivers... not so much.

I don't agree. Occasionally there are lingering problems. Not very often in my experience.

You obviously don't punish your poor system as much as I do. ;)

More wifi then Sound were common for me before don't have them now. Actually i face these issues when doing a fresh installation of Win7. Many times i had use Ubuntu to find windows drivers!

My Macbook pro Ubuntu installation went without any problems. Touch pad mouse clicks weren't as exact as OS X. I am used to it hence was not able to use Ubuntu. Maybe i should tinker a bit.

On this particular machine I'm using, some distros have excellent sound out of the box and some require snoop=0 added to the snd_hda_intel options in /etc/module.d/ to avoid stuttering audio. I didn't discover this bug until after I'd bought the motherboard and tried various distros; in my research it never came up.

And on a completely different note, I have a Dell Latitude laptop from around 2000 or so, a Pentium III machine, that has no built in networking unless you count the dial-up modem. I picked up a random CardBus wifi card for $5, and OpenBSD recognized and configured it flawlessly.

It really all comes down to whether the OS developers have access to the hardware the rest of us use. If, for example, your wifi doesn't work, it's not likely to until enough bug reports are submitted that the kernel hackers responsible for wifi drivers get their hands on the hardware and write or improve a driver. It's the same for those trackpad issues you had; someone somewhere has to debug that.

This is why it's a good idea to research your hardware if you intend to run anything other than Windows or OS X. And even with research, it's rarely 100% working out of the box. That's the tradeoff for having what (in my opinion) is a very productive and comfortable working environment.

But ever since Lion was released, I would rather use Windows Vista on a Core Solo machine than OS X on any Mac

Huh? And I am not saying that they don't have problems.

Sorry, a bit of hyperbole on my part. I was alluding to the "Vista Capable" days, when machines barely able to run XP were touted by their manufacturers as "Vista Capable", even though they knew very well that the new OS had much higher requirements than XP. Core Solo CPUs were particularly bad at running any Windows OS, and were featured in many of those machines.

My point being, even a kludgy setup like that was more tolerable than OS X 10.7 and up (again, hyperbole, but close enough to the truth in my case).

And it is that point that I am talking about, and I was wondering what problems made it that unusable. I was not saying that there is no problems.

I thought it was obvious from my clarification: Lion was the Vista of the Mac world. Major instability, much slower than SL, broken hardware drivers in my case, forced obsolescence (why drop support for perfectly capable Core Duo and even some Core 2 Duo machines?), massive changes to file saving...it would be faster to list what wasn't screwed up.

Yea I know, but this says nothing about Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

Jesus Christ. Okay, in short, ML fixed some but not all of Lion's issues, and Mavericks fixed a few more but introduced a lot of annoying "features" that still broke my workflow. Yosemite was another huge regression, almost as bad as Lion.

If you want more specific than that, you'll have to find someone who has spent more time than I have on those OS releases. I've tried each one and have yet to see anything better than Snow Leopard; if you don't like that answer, too bad. I'm done.

Welcome to yuhong, he's famous for this on basically every comments page I've seen him on

You know, I started getting the feeling I was being trolled early on, but I didn't dare try calling it out here. Trolls seem to be dealt with by the staff but regular users who call them out get spanked too.

This does not make them that unusable. I was not implying that there is no problems.

I always wonder where do people get these quirks... And I suspect mostly that's Ubuntu's fault, which is a shitty OS to begin with. It's the only distro I had problems with my graphics card (an Aspire 5050, several years ago), and the audio output.

I've been on archlinux, on testing, for christ sake, and it's been at least a year since I had an issue of any kind.

Debian was also fine by me, but the software was too old on stable; I did have installation issues with it, however, on other peoples laptops.

I've tried Debian, arch and several flavors of Ubuntu (like #!). The quirks aren't in the OS, they're in the shitty drivers, which are common to all linux based oses. Just because you don't personally see an issue doesn't mean others don't. The inconsistency across hardware is a large reason apple forces people to use their OS only on approved hardware.

Ironically, Ubuntu was the only distro that didn't present audio stuttering for me out of the box. I usually run Slackware and it was present there, which led me to research it until I found a fix. I chalked it up to Ubuntu staying on the bleeding edge even with their LTS releases, along with having the largest user base by far (more users = more people with this bug = more incentive to fix it).

Either way, it was an easy fix for Slackware and the other half dozen distros I've tried on this machine, and I've found generally that Slackware is the best fit for someone who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty occasionally, in exchange for stability and lack of dependency issues.

I don't know how it is on Macs (probably worse), but on my Lenovo Y50 I've had a lot of issues getting my nVidia card to work properly. First I tried Arch Linux, which I had been using on my previous machine for about 2 years now, and no matter what I did I couldn't get my nVidia card to work properly, even with the nvidia-beta package from the AUR.

So then I tried Ubuntu, thinking that would be the "easy" distro. It installed alright, but the nVidia card was still giving me trouble and the official Ubuntu nVidia packages weren't new enough (it's a GTX 860M). So I added a PPA with a newer version of the driver and that seemed to get it working at least, but I still had massive screen tearing issues, and for some reason the nVidia settings app had far fewer settings than the Windows version I have on the other partition, and it didn't even have an option to enable vsync, which should resolve the tearing. After trawling through mountains of nVidia documentation and forum posts, including, no joke, the EBNF for their config file, I still can't get the damn thing to work.

I'd like to have a real shell and be able to play games without rebooting, but the polish on desktop Linux still isn't quite there yet. And yes, I know this particular problem isn't the fault of Linux or any of the other software in Ubuntu, but it's a problem with the ecosystem and it's one that's preventing me from using Linux as much as I'd like to right now.

If you export __GL_SYNC_TO_VBLANK=1 in your environment then that should force the nvidia driver to sync to vblank.

Apparently I had tried messing with some other environment variables earlier, but this one didn't do it either. It shouldn't be this hard to tell a GPU to slow down when it draws things.

That was one of the things I tried and somehow it still didn't do it. Setting it in the individual games' settings didn't to it either. I'll try one more time though.

I assume the PPA you added was xorg-edgers? I needed to use that one to get my nvidia card working (was quite a new model when I got it...)

I agree RE: Duplicate/Save As…, although you can get Save As… back if you hold down the Option key. I don't remember when I last used Duplicate.

Is this a complaint about the Preview app? Because obviously all other programs you might run in OSX make their own decisions about their functionality. Personally, I always use the Menubar search feature via QuickSilver or the default Help>Search shortcut, CMD+?, so I never even noticed those features have been now hidden behind an option key.

The Duplicate/Save As thing is present in any app that's using the system document-based app frameworks and has opted-in to autosave... you'll see it in most of Apple's apps (like TextEdit, Preview, or Pages) and in some third-party apps (off the top of my head, I know Pixelmator does it, and there are others).

iA Writer is another to go down this route. To be honest, I hadn't really noticed since most of my time is spent in Chrome, Sublime Text, Spotify/iTunes, Cyberduck, and Mail. None of these - even the last - have adopted the new api/framework.

Thank you for this, I had no idea. Further, I have no idea how I would have found out about this if not for stumbling across it randomly online, as the menubar is simply not a place where I expect options to be changeable and there's nothing in the menu to suggest option will modify it.

Whoa! Thanks for that tip. I am amazed I never tried that as well as sure grateful to now know it.

Happy to help!

You can switch to Linux, but unfortunately it's been degrading along similar lines.

Big, wrong ideas are destructive, and the two biggest, wrongest ones right now seem to be: "desktops are just out-of-date tablets", and "the only good affordance is a dead affordance".

Affordances are what make computers humane, and there's a world of difference between how phones are used (mostly social), tablets are used (mostly media consumption), and how desktops are used (mostly productivity).

The visionaries in charge of all three of Windows/OSX/Linux are of similar mind about the "big ideas", and it's caused a lot of grief for productive people.

I disagree regarding the "tablet" point - while the major DEs take some UI inspiration from tablets, in general they're still very much desktop-oriented. People often complain about Unity for being "too much like a tablet", but actually try using it on a tablet and it's not well-suited at all in its current form.

You might want to look at KDE and XFCE though - both are sticking more to traditional Linux desktop ideas than Gnome and Unity.

I don't think we actually disagree. The tablet/desktop convergence is them trying to sit between two barstools - true that they're still mostly toward desktop, but they aimed for both and hit neither.

And agreed on your second point, using XFCE right now.

What's an affordance? I've never heard that term in this context before.

In UI terms, it's any sort of visual clue for the user to do something. A button might be drawn as a "raised" thing inviting you to press it down; a window corner that has larger and visually obvious "drag handles" where you can grab it to resize the window; that sort of thing.

Thank you. It's getting to be a rare event that I get an answer to a question on HN. I really appreciate it. :)

I believe the term they use is "buttery".

I'm with you on moving back to Linux, having sufficient experience with both I'm loathe to move back for both hardware and software envrionment frustrations. I do have hope that things will get better on that side of the fence, but OSX would have to become pretty terrible for me to do that anytime soon (though they seem to really be pushing their luck lately).

Here's my OS X vs Linux experience circa 2014.

I have a new OS X MBP. 16 GB RAM, NVIDIA Something (650?), SSD, Yosemite, i7. I have an older i7 Sager, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia 550m, HDD.

The Sager for years has been a terrible computer due to the WIFI support. It was crappy in Windows and worse in Linux. I actually looked forward to getting the MBP. Recently, however, I found a guy's opensource driver for the RealTek WIFI. This is more stable than the actual official driver. His blog post was great about how to install it. Now I've got two computer to compare.

OSX is apparently terrible at memory management. Running Eclipse and like 10 tabs in FF can cause the system to swap. On the SSD I loath the very concept. Some of my comments on HN about Light Table stem from the fact that LT uses .5 GB of memory when everything is said and done (node helpers, etc). LT on OS X ran great, but OS X would swap. Running multiple VirtualBox instances made it worse. I tend to run about 260-350 MB of swap if not more for a few small programs.

Cut to Ubuntu. Once I got use to Unity I liked Ubuntu. The OS is smooth, use-able and well-supported both at a community level and from a system update perspective. I can run a 2 GB Arango VM, and 3 Hadoop VMs at once all nicely networked to each other via host-only. FF with the same 10-ish tabs running with lein REPL and Counterclockwise (Eclipse IDE for Clojure) and still only use 76 KB of swap.

Now aside from following a few steps about getting the WIFI to work, I've not really done much Ubuntu customization. I haven't had to. I installed it, it worked, I worked.

OS X had some nice ideas, but, IMHO, Linux caught up. The terminals available with Linux are better than the default terminal with OS X. They are more memory efficient than Console 2. Unity works well. I actually have muscle memory trying to work with OS X as I do Unity.

I will grant that the OS X laptop is light years ahead of my Linux box's battery. Even when the battery was new, the Linux laptop was lucky to get 2.5 hours. The OS X laptop gets 5 hrs or so under my daily load.

Interestingly, the only laptop of the 5 or so I've owned to have a dead pixel is the MBP. Under white backgrounds it's easy to miss. On dark backgrounds I'm annoyed.

Does OS X' swappiness affect performance?

I don't have personal experience since my MBP has a SSD. Things page fairly quickly. It will affect the total life expectancy of the drive. With the new models of MBP that's a real problem. The drive and it's logic board have to be replaced. This will require me to pay a "Genius" to do that. Ideally I could just pop a few screws and be done.

SSD lifespan concerns are overdone. Tech report took 100TB of constant writing to get a TLC SSD to start showing errors, and you're not likely to do that. However, by avoiding swap, you're in all likelihood causing extra reads, which also degrade performance. I advise saving your worry for other aspects, such as reliability during unexpected power loss.


I'll let it swap (since I can't figure out how to shut of swap). I just do any heavy lifting on my Sager. A nice side effect is that I have to make sure my deployment flow works.

> I now have to do 10 extra steps just to Save As.

I feel your pain. Fortunately you can have Save As back: System Preferences -> Keyboards -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts. Add a shortcut called "Save As..." with Command-Shift-S. Magically, Duplicate is gone.

Great suggestion, but I could not get "Save As…" (associated with Command-Shift-S) to appear in the File menu of the Preview app (where I'd like to see it), after following your guidance. I have 10.7.5. I don't care if Duplicate is there or not; I would like to add Save As as you described.

I'm sorry, I can't speak to 10.7.5; though I'd be surprised if it didn't work. This trick works great in 10.8.x and 10.9.x.

Thank you! Actually Duplicate is still there for me, but that's fine.

Sorry, you also need to assign Command-Option-Shift-S to Duplicate. Then Duplicate will magically be hidden behind Save As... in the way that Save As... was previously hidden behind Duplicate. [That is, when you hold the option key down, Duplicate changed to Save As...]. Otherwise they'll be shown together in the menu.

>That's the problem in a nutshell: OS X changes because there's new management that wants to put its stamp on things, regardless of whether it improves the productivity of the user or not.

I'm not an OS X user, but that's a solid observation, that at least partly accounts for the issues, based on my experience of other OS's and software. I've seen the same happen, from the inside, in large companies where I've worked, and also, from the outside, a lot, as a user of various software packages and OS's, that seems to be the case, many times. Of course there are other reasons too.

I was just talking to a non-tech [1] friend yesterday who was complaining about the OS problems he was having (Ubuntu, in his case), and who said, essentially, that things are too difficult - upgrades screwing things up, etc. etc. My reply to him: the state of the art in software (in general) is still below what it should be - or words to that effect.

[1] Of course, part of the reason for his problems is that he is not tech-savvy (though he actually is more so than the average layman), but that raises the question of why software in general cannot be more user-friendly and easier to use. Difficult question, I know, since the field is so complex, and compounded by the existence of so many different versions of hardware, operating systems, and applications, all (mis)interacting with each other. Reminds me of my erstwhile system engineer days: customer has a problem (in a specific app situation) with this model of that computer that we sell and support? check the OS version: is it Ver. x.y.z? ah, that's not compatible with BIOS (or motherboard) Ver. a.b.c - only when using that particular RDBMS / compiler / whatever; upgrade the BIOS (or motherboard or OS or problematic software) to Ver. p.q.r ...... :) (which point was sometimes learnt after system / hardware engineers had spent a lot of time trying to solve the problem on their own, before escalating it to head office)

It was good fun and learning, but frustrating too at times, and must have been for some customers too ...

I agree completely. And believe it or not, I went back to Windows. Sort of. I'm testing the waters. My big issue is iTunes. Yeah I drank the kool-aid and now have an iTunes library of about 100GB. Despite how much I hate what iTunes has become at least is runs on Windows.

Also, it's easier to "turn features off" in Windows than OSX these days. I'm sad about it though. But after 14 years on Mac I'm done. It was the upgrade to 10.10 that finally pissed me off enough to leave.

By the way, anyone know of a good terminal app for Windows? Not too crazy about Powershell. I have been using Git Bash and that's decent so far.

If by having an "iTunes" library you mean it has some old DRMd 128kbps AAC files, I believe they'll let you download non-DRMd 256kbps versions which will then play in most decent media players. AAC achieves transparency at lower bitrates than MP3, and compatibility really isn't much of a problem these days. Windows users seem to like foobar2000, MusicBee, or dBPowerAmp so you can move on from iTunes.

> By the way, anyone know of a good terminal app for Windows? Not too crazy about Powershell. I have been using Git Bash and that's decent so far.

Reading your expectations and gripes, I'd say try http://bliker.github.io/cmder/ , the goodness of clink bundled with ConEmu and a sexy Monokai theme.

Why can't you migrate your music collection away from iTunes? I thought the DRM was killed long ago.

Apple removed the DRM from new music sales. All existing music sold before then is still DRM locked. When Apple discontinued DRM, they made user spend $0.30 per song to unlock them (seriously). Now, it appears you can spend $25 for iTunes Match, ensure the affected songs are available, delete the local DRM-infected ones, and it will download proper ones to replace them.

iTunes Match brings its own issues to the party. I've had songs that I own, with 'explicit content', that I've hand-ripped, converted into radio friendly abominations that are, frankly, unlistenable. Maybe that's just Apple's 'family-friendly' values shining through; that might be appropriate for some, but I don't have a Big Brother in real life, and I don't want one messing with my music collection either!

You can redownload DRM-free versions for free:


There were programs for removing the DRM from iTunes files. I used one successfully. Maybe they don't work anymore? I don't know.

Or you can burn your DRM songs to CD, then rip to DRM-free MP3.

Encoding music that has lossy compression with a lossy compressor? Not a good idea ;).

Know a good music player for Windows? And don't tell me Windows Media Player. :)

http://www.foobar2000.org/ is a fantastic piece of software. Extremely efficient/powerful/customizable (and closed-source). I sorely miss it under Linux, Rhythmbox/Quodlibet/Amarok/Clementine don't even come close.

What powerful features does one need in music player? Or, what features do you miss in OSS players?

WMP actually isn't that bad these days, though all I use it for is ripping CDs (yep, those shiny plastic things for you young'uns) since it's great at that. For playback in Windows, I've stuck with Winamp through the years as I haven't found anything that works the way it does without a bunch of features I don't need. I tried Foobar2000 and couldn't get into it, and MediaMonkey just seemed like overkill.

By the way, a great site for finding apps in specific genres is alternativeto.net. Here's a list of alternatives to iTunes:


I'll never understand this community...downvoted because I use WMP (oh the horror), or downvoted because I was trying to be helpful?

I moved to Linux (Ubuntu) and migrated a HUGE iTunes library along with it. I now use Clementine as my music management / player. I believe there's a way to import an iTunes library, but the iTunes metadata is all in one big XML file. So I wrote a script that loads all my metadata into Clementine's sqlite database.

I can't tell you in words how awesome this is.


But I have used it for 10 years and it's the only reason I still have Windows machines in my house. It's that good.

Winamp is still my preference.


I use Cygwin on a regular basis. It's basically indispensible, because it's the only thing that does what it does. But I get the strong impression that it was designed to punish Windows users. Just off the top of my head:

* It has no idea about Windows file system conventions. IIRC, the default install directory is "C:\Cygwin".

* The "default" install is super bare-bones, and missing a lot of pretty basic Unix utils. This would be a minor complaint, except:

* The installer--the bit that you download--is also the package manager. This means that if you install it and then delete the installer like a responsible, space-conserving user, then the first time you realize that you don't have, I dunno, rsync, you have to download the installer again. And then, unless you having to manually navigate to your Downloads folder every time you want to install a damn package, you have to find a place for it to live on your drive and set up a start-menu shortcut for it. These things are why we invented installers, so why doesn't the installer do them?

* And, as you may have guessed from that last bit, there is no way to install packages from within the Cygwin terminal. In fact, you have to close all open terminals every time you want to run the package manager. You can imagine how much fun that is. The excuse for this is "such a program would need full access to all of Cygwin's POSIX functionality. That is, however, difficult to provide in a Cygwin-free environment, such as exists on first installation." In other words, they can't provide a proper package manager because then they couldn't make the installer and the package manager the same program which they shouldn't be fucking doing anyway.

* Every time you run the installer/package manager, you have to click "Okay" seven times (yes, I counted) to confirm a load of options that you will almost certainly never change after first install.

This ran way longer than I intended. Apparently I am fussed. :-/ The thing that really gets me is that this isn't even a case of Unix grognards not knowing or caring about Windows standards. There is no modern OS where installing an application off of the root directory is acceptable. I don't get it.

I think Cygwin is trying to be an Operating system ontop another operating system. Windows is in C:\Windows, so there is some logic behind Cygwin being in C:\Cygwin. It's not ideal, but I wouldn't call it all together illogical.

The package management is indeed a mass. The install.exe should literally install ONLY the barebones system plus some kind of terminal app, like Putty (because CMD is a pain to use), and then open the terminal to continue installation from there.

I look in on the Cygwin users' mailing list every now and again and I have a lot of respect for the devs and how they run their project, finding a usable middle ground between Windows and Linux (Cygwin at its core is a DLL that emulates POSIX and Linux-specific system calls).

The installer being the package manager threw me when I first started using Cygwin. However, when I researched the issue, I can see how the choice made sense. Unlike a Linux system, you can't upgrade the Cygwin DLL in-place while it's running.

apt-cyg [1] is a nice simple bash script for managing Cygwin packages. I find very useful for avoiding the GUI installer when I just need to add or remove a few packages. For software that doesn't require an upgrade of the Cygwin DLL, they can be installed / removed from inside Cygwin itself.

[1] https://github.com/transcode-open/apt-cyg

I used Cygwin when I was on Windows but my advice is to use Windows for the client programs and run a headless Linux VM for everything else. Export its filesystem so you can use Windows to edit files but ssh to Linux to work with a terminal. You'll get a real package manager too.

So? Who cares about Windows conventions? You're using Cygwin to escape Windows.

I only use Cygwin because its the only way to use certain tools. I run a tidy Windows install otherwise. I wouldn't use it at all if I didn't need to.

Did you stop reading after the third sentence? I addressed that specifically later on. A lot of Cygwin's behavior is no more acceptable in Unix than in Windows.

And no, I don't use Cygwin to "escape" Windows. Windows is a perfectly functional GUI for casual daily use. I use Cygwin because it provides useful tools and utilities that aren't available in Windows.

Still runs in the Windows terminal, right? Small as it seems, one of the first things to push me to OSX from Windows was the ease of copying and pasting in and out of the terminal.

For the past couple of years, it uses mintty (based on the same code as putty) as its default terminal. I find mintty to be a very fine terminal emulator and is easily configurable; its default colour for rendering ANSI Blue was too dark for my liking but I was able to change it to the same colour that xterm uses.

It supports UTF8, 256 colours; copy-pasting is simple and easy. I suppose the only mainstream feature it's lacking is tabs -- but that doesn't bother me.

This is fixed for Windows 10 thankfully, along with a few other features that have been missing a while [1]. Multi-line copy, paste good paste support (correct formatting), newlines following resizes, transparency, etc.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/09/window...

No, it has it's own terminal. Pretty nice too. I use it at work when I have to use Windows.

You cannot get better. About as close to Bash as you can get on Windows.

Git bash is better.

>Every new major release of OS X is a day or week spent disabling things

To be fair, I'm a .NET dev who has to do this in most Windows releases as well. It's a part of the customization of the OS. They don't tailor it to devs, they tailor it to normal users.

I'm in the same boat, basically using Macs for the hardware at this point. Nothing that I'm aware of comes close to MacBooks in build quality, display, and lack of driver issues, and the retina iMac is a fantastic developer workstation. But not being an iOS user, I find most of the changes since 10.6 either irrelevant or negative.

The Chromebook pixel... You just hook up a bigger SSD, and you are done ;)

Can the internal SSD be replaced, or are you referring to an external?

Is the RAM still limited to 4GB on these as well? That is what killed the idea of the Pixel for me.

Really? I'm waiting for a new Razer Blade 14" to show up with 970m graphics. Even the old one with 870m stomps a mudhole in a macbook these days man.

The Razer has a much worse processor, half the RAM, half the storage, half the battery life, and it's heavier than the 15" MacBook even though it's only 14". And according to reviews "it runs incredibly hot".

Not exactly "stomping a mudhole" is it?


Battery life is 5-6hrs compared to Apple's "up to 8 hrs" for the MBP 15. That's amazing considering Razer runs a 1344 core GPU. What does a pitiful MacBook Pro have? Integrated graphics. Hahaha. And for the highest end MBP they have? A puny 750m. I'm sure you won't get 8hrs with that one. Compare the two on any graphics benchmark. There's the mudhole I mentioned. 870m is 2x faster than a 750m.

The Razer also delivers a higher res touch screen. The Razer is thinner. It's also black and green which IMO looks much better than those boring silver MBPs.

And heavier than a MBP you say?





Razer wins again. Seems you don't know what you're talking about fanboi. Face it, Razer makes the nicest laptop you can buy anywhere. Period.

Most reviews say the Razer gets between 4 and 4.5 hours on battery. The MacBook is 9 hours and some reviewers got more than 9. Color is personal preference. I think aluminum looks better than plastic.

Nice job trying to use the specs page for the outdated non-Retina MacBook that nobody buys. Here's the real specs page: https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/

13" MacBook is 1.57kg, 15" MacBook is 2.02kg. Razer is heaver than both.

And nice job ignoring the processor, RAM, storage, and the overheating, "fanboi".

>I think aluminum looks better than plastic.

You've never even seen one, have you? Razer is aluminum too.

>Nice job trying to use the specs page for the outdated non-Retina MacBook

Must be all Apple's gadget spam confusing me. That was the first result returned by Google for "MacBook Pro Specs". If you want to quible over 0.01Kg, then take a look at that 0.01 inches in thickness while you're at it. Oh gosh, that MacBook is just TOO THICK to use!! roll eyes

>And nice job ignoring the processor,

On noes! Apple's newer hardware has an extra 300 Megahertz cpu on the top of the line MBP vs the Razer. I know, Razer can break out the MHz Myth! Yay MHM!


Oh, sorry, I forgot. MHM only applies if Apple has the lower clock speed. I must have stepped out of the Reality Distortion Field for a moment.


LOL. Let's talk about RAM on the iPhone shall we? Oh, RAM isn't an issue on the iPhone because <blah blah blah>. I'll use that same excuse then ;)


Razer available with 512GB of storage. MBP available with 512GB of storage. What's your point again? Oh, I see. You can overpay for 1TB by spending an extra $500 as a BTO option. Good for you. I'm sure you're proud of that.

Ever heard of an external drive? They're pretty neat. You can hold big files on them, but you aren't punished by carrying around all the weight of a bigger main drive all the time. You might want to check into that. They're pretty nifty for the obviously 0.01Kg weight conscious traveler that you are.

>and the overheating

LOL. Glass houses man


At least the Razer team was smart enough to direct heat to a no touch zone above the keyboard. Look at that. The heat is all up in the keyboard on the MBP. What a shame. Your fingers must be cooking as you type your responses.

In the meantime, Apple's still low res. Apple's still lower pixel density. Apple's still missing a touch screen. Apple still has a missing or crippled GPU. In hardware that really counts, Razer comes out on top in a big way. But yeah, you're 10grams lighter on system weight, so you win. lol

Yes yes. DV my heretical vantage point, Appolytes. Truth hurts, doesn't it? CES 2015 starts tomorrow. Hoping to see a new model Razer. w00t!

I bought a linux laptop from System76 early this year, and aside from a fiddly trackpad, everything just works. I've seen a lot of people say the same about thinkpads.

Thinkpads have pretty much worked on Linux, for me.

Overall, Linux is great these days if you have compatible hardware. A random Windows laptop might be a problem, but a Thinkpad or a System76 or such should all be fine.

While it worked acceptably for three years, I gave up on my Thinkpad W520 this summer and switched to a Macbook Pro. Partly it was due to size (going from a bulky 15" to a really slim 13" computer is awesome), and partly it was due to wanting application support again, after seven years of almost exclusively using Linux.

One thing I'd like to say when looking at Thinkpads, or other laptops, for running Linux on, don't get one with hybrid graphics. My experience in trying to deal with it was a huge pain.

Maybe my problem was in going for the W-series. The older T-series laptops I've installed and used Linux on were great.

My T42 worked like a dream on Ubuntu 14.04 until recently, and now it refuses to awaken from sleep properly at all because of some update or other. I'm dreading trying to track this down and possibly finding out I'm stuck with using Windows 7.

I had (well, still have, but don't use) a w510. It worked just as well as the t61 before it (which was to say, they both did great under Linux), but it didn't have hybrid graphics... it was Nvidia all the time. The only reason I've replaced it was that it had absolutely abysmal battery life. Old job bought me a comparable ultrabook that weighs 20 pounds less and has 3x the battery life and I couldn't be happier.

I have a T430s - fairly thin with hybrid graphics. You should know that you can switch off hybrid graphics in the BIOS. Please feel free to get a hybrid graphics thinkpad - you can use it whichever way you want.

I have a w530 running linux and couldn't agree more about the hybrid graphics. It's caused me so much grief I almost switched to windows.

I have an ASUS with Nvidia Optimus, and once I installed Bumblebee the hybrid graphics work fine.

+1 - Thinkpads work out of the box in my experience, and with a bit of tweaking, I managed to move my parents to Linuxes (Mint) on "random Windows laptops" - a Compaq and a 17" HP.

But I guess it was just luck of the draw - YMMV.

Same, tried Trisquel and it just worked, except some flash media doesn't play which actually increased my productivity. Coursera videos, youtube work but spending countless hours streaming some TV links won't happen anymore unless I manually install a nonfree flash plugin from repository outside Trisquel, which is enough of a time transactional cost that I haven't bothered

What's the overall build quality like?

I've read (almost exclusively) bad things about the keyboard and overall plastic-ity of them.

I've got a 17" model. It is plastic, but I have no complaints about the overall build. The keyboard has pretty nice long-travel keys. The trackpad is horrible, the cursor tends to jump around a lot when you try to click. This is my first linux laptop so I don't know whether that's a common driver issue on linux. If not for that I would be 100% happy.

Another model got a lot of complaints about the keyboard a year or two ago, and System76 responded by sending everyone a better one for free.

Probably that was in comparison to past models. Compared to other brands, they are still pretty nice.

>I just dread the idea of moving to Linux again. I don't want to tinker that much.

If you don't use Unity and instead use a different environment like KDE, Ubuntu is actually a great system that requires minimal tweaking.

Same for Ubuntu Gnome. There's a few addons (or plugins, or whatever they call them) that I install to suite my preferences, but I can do a clean install + additional packages + tweak to my needs in under an hour. If you don't know the package names you'll want, maybe double that. The past few upgrades have also worked flawlessly for me, which makes it even easier.

That said, I intentionally purchase hardware that's known to work well with Linux (if you buy a system with all Intel chipsets, you'll probably be fine). Also, the power management is still abysmal. I still have to tinker with powertop to get battery life comparable to other OS's.

Amen to that. After doing some magic with powertop, I get about 5 hours out of my Thinkpad X201 9-cell battery, which is still less that the 7 on Windows they claim. But it guess the battery is getting older too, I've never replaced it (it has about 2 years)

I hated Unity at first, enough to stick with 10.04 when I ran Ubuntu (I was never impressed with Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Lubuntu, there was always something broken somewhere in all of those). But I finally gave it a go in 14.04, and it has vastly improved. It may still not be your cup of tea, but in my mind at least it's better than Gnome 3 and is worth a look.

That said, for my money you can't beat Mint with Xfce for a quick and easy casual GNU/Linux box. I always skip Xfce's compositor and install Compton for tear-free window dragging and video watching (Nvidia-specific issue I believe), but otherwise the default install is very good.

>I just dread the idea of moving to Linux again. I don't want to tinker that much.

The thing about Linux is that once you've tinkered, things stay the way you are.

Copy over your home folder to your next distro and just about everything goes back to the way it was. When I wiped xUbuntu 14.04 and installed the 15.04 alpha, I didn't have to do anything to get XFCE back the way I wanted after I copied the contents of my home folder over and gave it a reboot.

This is far, far more friendly than what OSX forces you to go through after each and every update.

Well, most of the times but not always. I use Ubuntu and I don't like having a bar on the top of the screen and the modal menu at the top, which are the primary reasons I don't use OSX. I was using Gnome 2 with all the menus and icons moved to the bottom bar, plus Compiz for the virtual desktops cube which I find a more natural way to remember where I am than with sliding desktops. One day Canonical introduced Unity, with a bar fixed to the top. No way to remove that, so I started using gnome fallback mode, or whatever is called. Enter Gnome 3, with much more workflow changing features. We can work around almost all of them now, not so much years ago. I kept using gnome fallback, which unfortunately requires more and more tweakings to mimic a subset of the functionality of Gnome 2 (which was all I need to work). So I ended up with an Ubuntu 12.04 with kernel upgrades (the hardware enhancement stack from Canonical) and a DE that doesn't work as well as it used to (some quirks here and there). It's very much the first lines of the post about OSX. At least Linux gives me more flexibility than OSX does.




Honestly. Fuck Unity and Gnome.

> The thing about Linux is that once you've tinkered, things stay the way you are.

Until they don't – I supported Linux desktop users for years and, even ignoring fun with the occasional kernel/driver update rendering systems unbootable or breaking sound/video, every so often I had to troubleshoot something which turned out to be caused by a backwards-incompatible change. It turns out that Linux developers are just like developers for every other platform and make mistakes or intentional changes for things they no longer wish to support.

> This is far, far more friendly than what OSX forces you to go through after each and every update.

My experience with every release since 10.0.0: install, reboot, go back to work. The thing to remember for every platform is that you hear about complaints from the small percentage of people who encounter something unusual because relatively few people spend months camped out on forums to remind everyone that an update didn't break anything.

Given how common sentiments like this are (I certainly share them enthusiastically), I'm kindof surprised there hasn't been more support for projects that attempt to address this somewhat by taking OS X compatibility beyond OS X:


As a heavy user of OS X, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about related to your difficulties upgrading to new versions. I've gone from 10.4 all the way to Mavericks and have yet to have a single shred of trouble.

"The more important your Cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it."

Insofar as Cheese == Wi-Fi connection, I couldn't agree more.

I'm not sure you're aware of the extent of pissing that has taken place from Apple on its Power Users' faces between 10.6 and 10.9 (likely 10.10 even, I've given up).

This isn't just "WHY IS THIS 10px LEFT TO WHERE IT WAS ARGH THIS SUX0RZ" - really basic things were broken, such as multi-monitor full-screen. Also, multi-core machines actually benefited (performance-wise) from upgrading up until 10.6. Not so after Lion.

It's easy to blame the users for being change-averse, but... was I really meant to stop using 'full-screen'? "Just resize it from that little corner there?"? Please.

It's important to notice that he's switching to a desktop running linux. Running linux on laptops is still a gamble. Sometimes things work great. Sometimes you spend months trying to fix basic stuff like screen brightness[1][2] on hardware certified by Ubuntu.[3]

I think there's a market for a linux distro that targets a limited set of premium hardware. I'd gladly pay money for an OS that worked out of the box on any MacBook or Surface Pro made in the past two years.

Edit: Many people are replying with brands that work for them. I'm glad they've been lucky enough to avoid problems, but I am making a different point. On Macs, OS X is practically guaranteed to work out of the box. Wifi, bluetooth, trackpad, screen brightness, power management, hardware graphics acceleration, resume from suspend/hibernate, etc Just Works™. On Apple's hardware, users never have to worry about kernel flags or special drivers. The same is not true for any combination of laptop brand and linux distro. I truly wish it were otherwise.

1. http://fujii.github.io/2014/03/02/thinkpad-edge-e145-backlig...

2. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/fglrx-installer/+b...

3. http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/hardware/201309-14195/

I have long argued that the marketing of various GNU/Linux distros as something you can install on any PC if you get tired of Windows for whatever reason was a huge mistake on the part of the community.

This attitude created the insane expectation that Ubuntu (or whatever) should run on any machine that previously ran Windows. That is a (hopelessly) tall order to fill, especially considering that new versions of Windows itself won't always run on machines that previously ran an older version of Windows.

We, as a community, mistakenly emphasized the sheer number of installs over the quality of those installs and the happiness of their users. The best way to market GNU/Linux, in my opinion, is to show someone a fully compatible, fully working machine that "Just Work[ed]" out of the box and explain, honestly, how it was achieved (by buying the right machine and using a distro known to work with that machine).

I believe that the "we can make any machine work, sort of..." attitude created a lot of crazy expectations, which hurt "switchers" and thus actually hurt the sale of fully compatible machines. Very sad.

I'm with you though. I bought a Mac solely for the battery life and the screen. If I could get a well-built machine, with a screen that didn't look washed out and a battery that consistently lasted more than four hours without weird tricks I would gladly pay Mac prices for it.

XPS 13 developer edition. Factory installed with Ubu.

I looked at that, and almost went with it over a MacBook. One problem is that it has very mixed reviews and some history of heat problems. Clearly Apple has had its share of issues as well, but that brings me to the next problem: it's a Dell. I have attempted twice in the past to give Dell my money, in both cases they botched the order so badly that I canceled it. Even still, I actually started the process of buying an XPS 13, only to be told that it wouldn't ship for over a month. I just can't take Dell seriously outside the enterprise market.

I've had incredibly good luck for the last several years with Linux on a laptop. You just have to be a bit careful. Here's what I've found:

- Backlight bugs are usually related to ACPI tables in the BIOS. Doing a BIOS upgrade will often fix them. This is especially true on the Thinkpad line where Lenovo explicitly supports Linux in its BIOS.

- Be careful with switchable graphics. While they have gotten a lot better, especially with open source drivers, they are still a pain (even on Windows). Choose a laptop with an Intel, or AMD APU. Or, barring that, make sure all of the scanouts are connected to the Intel card, like in my Thinkpad W540. The new Macbook Pro Retina 15" is exactly what you want to avoid - it forces all inputs to be connected to the discrete card when you boot Linux.

- Make sure you have a good wifi card. Intel or Atheros is the best.

- Do a bit of research before buying, like on the arch wiki.

- If you buy a bleeding edge laptop chipset, expect to need to use a bleeding edge distro for complete support.

For most people, eyes will start glazing around the second paragraph or so, which doesn't bode well for your "you just have to" argument.

How about this: just by a system with all Intel chipsets and you'll probably be fine.

Yes I agree, this is the short version of my advise. What I wrote above was for the HN audience.

> Do a bit of research before buying, like on the arch wiki

This, a thousand times. While I haven't used Arch for a few years, and probably never will again, they have some of the best and most complete documentation in the GNU/Linux world. Chances are, if there's ever been a Linux-specific issue, some Arch user has run into it and either fixed it themselves or found the answer in the Arch community. Their wiki is quite thorough as well.

Another great source is linuxquestions.org. Half a million members and still growing, and they cover all major distros (though there's a ton of Slackware power users there, which suits me fine).

The very fact that this list needs to exist demonstrates the problem.

Only the highest end rMBP has a discrete card, the cheaper one is just integrated.

> On Macs, OS X is practically guaranteed to work out of the box. Wifi, bluetooth, trackpad, screen brightness, power management, hardware graphics acceleration, resume from suspend/hibernate, etc Just Works™.

Interesting - my experience with respect to this is that Apple will "just replace it" if a user complains enough.

Both my MBPs (17" 2009, last 17" made (2012?)) had chronic sleep/resume issues, where they would wake up unprompted, either immediately after going to sleep, or after a while (in my bag, turning it into a furnace), or not resume at all when waking up.

The Genius Bar "replaced a daughterboard, which should fix it"[1], which naturally didn't.

In my quest for a solution, I tried everything and met hundreds of poor souls with this problem, of varying technical aptitude - some far exceeding mine.

Changing the sleep mode, examining logs/dmesg/provided no hints, or relief. I gave up and started shutting it down or hibernating.

I don't miss OS X.

[1] Not a direct quote, but something equally eye-roll-invoking.

I'm sorry you had a poor experience, but I think most would agree that such problems are quite rare compared to other OSes. Also, it sounds like you had decent support from Apple. Though they failed, they expended significant effort and money to try and solve the problem.

But your anecdote doesn't address my point: Do you think any combination of laptop brand and linux distro would be more likely to have everything work out of the box than Apple hardware running OS X?

> I'm sorry you had a poor experience

By no means! It worked out for the best.

> I think most would agree that such problems are quite rare compared to other OSes.

Macbooks are very popular nowadays, but somewhat less so 5-6 years ago when I was diagnosing this. There were many, many people in my shoes all over the Apple discussions and other forums ("hunderds" from my previous post is almost definitely an underestimation). I'm not sure what percentage of total users this adds up to, but personally I wouldn't call it "rare". You can picture the frustration of paying top dollar for a premium machine/experience, not getting Genius Bar help and trying out any whacky witchcraft-y solution in case it works (reset SMC! PRAM! throw salt behind your back! try the new firmware from today!). Ugh.

> Also, it sounds like you had decent support from Apple. Though they failed, they expended significant effort and money to try and solve the problem.

Not quite. It was I who expended significant effort (take it in/be laptopless for a few days) and money (not under warranty) and to no avail. I don't remember what they said they fixed, but they charged me a little for some hardware part and labour. I didn't repeat the experiment for that issue, but the next time I had to get Apple support, the response was astounding as well.[1] I don't place much faith in the Genius Bar, and it is far from blind Apple-bashing in my case.

> But your anecdote doesn't address my point: Do you think any combination of laptop brand and linux distro would be more likely to have everything work out of the box than Apple hardware running OS X?

Well, yes, but you aren't going to like it. If you want a "brand" recommendation, Thinkpads are still your best bet. I've seen you're hit by that brightness bug, and that really does suck, but... "such problems are quite rare compared to the average Linux on Thinkpad experience" :/ I got a refurb X220 from ebay and put 14.04 on it - everything worked, down to the fingerprint reader. Go for a specific model rather than a brand, as "Our Milages Do Vary" even within brands.

As for the out-of-the-box experience, for my personal use case (hacker/developer) I don't value it that much. I'd much rather tweak a bit, but then have a system that "won't betray me", than have something that works 90% of the way I'd want it to, out of the box, and occasionally crash and fail me in mysterious undiagnosable ways. OS X wasn't even at 90% for me - "Always on Top" available out of the box nowadays? I had Afloat for this (and transparencies) in 10.6, but it didn't work for 10.7+

For the out-of-the-box experience in a casual user's use case, I have another anecdote for you - my distinctly non-technical mother. After seemingly making a hobby out of infecting her Windows XP/Vista over the years, I had this crazy idea to try Linux Mint on her crapware HP 17" laptop. I won't lie to you, I did hold my breath a bit while installing, hoping that I'll manage to sort out the inevitable issues, and I was surprised to find no issues at all. Everything worked out of the box and she's still using it, over a year later, with no complaints or need for technical support from me. She's a casual user - browsing, email, flash game or two - and she didn't really need Windows that much after all.

Finally, just like OS X works well with specific hardware, Linux is sort-of the same. If all vendors bothered with Linux support, the situation would be different and you'd have much greater chances of "Just Works" - but alas, that isn't so. If you can pick your laptop to be compatible, you won't have issues 99% of the time. Occasionally, vendors lie/exaggerate about the extent of Linux support (grep for "XPS 13" for my rant elsewhere on this thread about Dell), so always double-check on wikis/forums/issue trackers (Arch wiki is a goldmine, even if you go with another distro). It sucks a little, that you have to go by specific model, but not that much, really.

Right now I'd pick a T or X series Thinkpad, with Ubuntu base for power users (and a strong recommendation to research other window managers) or Mint 17 base for average users.

[1] My second, and final data point with the Genius Bar (UK/Oxford Str - in case it matters): Took in my girlfriend's Macbook, under warranty, for some obvious hardware issues (disk not detected intermittently? instability issues? I can't recall exactly but it screamed hardware). I know this sounds like I'm making it up, but initially they told me that the issue was limited free disk space (5G/500G) and only accepted to take a deeper look at it after some stern comments from yours truly. I kid you not: not enough free disk space. Anyway, the motherboard was faulty and was replaced. And - miracle of miracles! - it worked even with the measly 5G free disk space >:[

But in all honesty, can you name another manufacturer who does have good technical support? I have dealt with tech support people from Dell, HP, Panasonic, Lenovo, and Apple. They all have the same roadmap of denial:

1. I don't see the problem. 2. Oh, I see, that's a feature! 3. Hmm, not a feature you say, then it must be those pesky 3rd party apps you are using. 4. Ok, ok, it's a clean install, have you done all the upgrades? 5. You have? I see, well we will probably fix it in the next driver/software update, wouldn't you like to just wait? 6. You wouldn't???? Ok, fine, I guess it might be a hardware issue, but it's probably not covered under warranty, because they all do it. 7. Ok, I guess it's just your device, but are you sure you have warranty? 8. Ok, fine, will fix it, but just this once!

Apple is no more a pain in the ass than any of the other major manufacturers. At least they have an Apple Store in most markets, so you can go and bitch at someone in person, rather than engaging in a futile argument with a bangladeshi call center operator. At least with Apple you have an option to choke to death the person who is "assisting" you, when you eventually snap, instead of just threatening to do so :) Ok, I am not sure if that last bit is a plus.

That being said, I do agree that Genius Bar people are mostly idiots, and are trained to avoid fixing your problem, if at all possible. But honestly, can't you say the same about all of the other companies.

I pay HP about 100 Euro per year for a next business day support and whenever something breaks in my laptop they either send me a technician or mail me the spare parts. In the last 8 years I remember the technician coming here to replace a worn out keyboard (5 years) and a screen which was developing some whitish pixels. The shipped me a couple of hard disks, one of them just in case the problem I had was related to the disk, and two new power units. No complaints ever.

If you pay for business level support it's usually much better. Panasonic only really deals with Business, so I had the best experience with them, though I still had to fight through initial wall of incompetence. Apple also has a business program which is very good, on par with Panasonic in my experience, but with Apple I think you have to buy in volume to get into that program. Nowadays, though, I make it a point to only buy lightly used hardware and fix it my self if a problem arises. So far it's been cheaper than buying warranty and hell of a lot less aggravating. Fingers crossed, of course.

Heh - spot on. I may have had slightly higher expectations from Apple due to their premium pricing (and public image) at some point, but certainly not after actually needing support.

My point was in response to "you received decent support from Apple", which has never been my case.

Purely anecdotal but I dual boot windows/linux(ubuntu) regularly on four separate ultrabooks(from three different manufacturers) with few complaints. (beyond the dearth of updates(that I appreciate anyway)).

Everything worked out of the box. 100%.

Yep, my experience has been anything labelled ultrabook works pretty well. My main linux laptop is a toshiba z830. The only problem out of the box with Ubuntu is a fairly easy to solve backlight issue.

In particular, though, there's an ancient piece of conventional wisdom that always floats around that's very pro-nvidia+linux, but I think it's terribly outdated. AMD and nVidia compatibility with linux are both quite bad and both the OSS and proprietary drivers create a lot of problems for both. You're better off just using Intel straight through, their OSS drivers are plenty good for dev work and quite stable in my experience.

I use the proprietary drivers for nVidia on Ubuntu, always have, works great.

There's the Dell Sputnik series.[1] They are pricey but specifically designed to run Ubuntu.


I like that it comes with 12.04 instead of 14.04. The former is, in my experience, much more stable for daily use. The latter has a much improved Unity experience, but there are stability issues compared to 12.04.

It is a bit out of my range, but it's nice to know Dell is offering a quality non-Windows machine.

I know someone that went from a Macbook Pro to one of these. He's been incredibly happy with it, and described the "just works" factor as being in the same range as his old Pro.

The XPS series is no pillar of Linux support. Turn to Thinkpads for this[0]. In case you can't be bothered with the upcoming wall of text: Dell seems to have entirely different definitions of "support" for the paid OS, vs. the free one.

I could pick my own hardware for work, and I went with an XPS 13 9333 "Ubuntu edition" + superspeed dock for over 1300 GBP ($2K USD). I shouldn't have sponged on the extra hundred or so bucks for the X1 Carbon (..."startup"...), but the "Linux readiness" sucked me in. I don't exactly feel like I got my money's worth:

- "Coil Whine"[1]. My expectations from a $2K SSD laptop is complete fucking silence unless the fans are going. There is still some serious coil whine happening when some arbitrary conditions are met - If you often work in a quiet environment (any AM workers here?), you will notice this eventually. This also changes pitch when <things>, so you won't be tuning it out. This was noted as fixed by Dell for the 9333[2], when in fact it hasn't been. Not exclusively a Linux issue, but unacceptable in a $2K machine.

- Driver support: wifi: Identity crisis. The stock wifi drivers don't quite register as wifi drivers, but at least NetworkManager still kinda works. "Huh?"

     # iwconfig
     wlan0         no wireless extensions.
Why do I care? Because maybe I wanted to switch out NetworkManager for wicd (not possible). Maybe I wanted monitor mode on my card (nope). Maybe I just wanted to run Kismet - or anything other than NetworkManager (not possible). Huh.

- Driver support: wifi: instability. I got very frequent wifi disconnects/hiccups/delays on both the 2.4G and the 5G bands, when other hardware on the same location worked just fine (my Mac co-workers liked to pick on me for this, but hey, I would too in their shoes). By "delays", I'm not nit-picking milliseconds, I mean getting 2000ms+ pingbacks from the AP when a macbook placed right on top of it (for science) got the expected 20-70ms. Huh.

- Driver support: Touchscreen: forget about it.[3] Kind of entirely broken. After using the touch screen, moving the mouse (or trackpad) again will "jump" the cursor position to around 2x, 2y of where you left the touchscreen pointer. This was so annoying when I had a bottom-right "hot corner" kind of thing on Ubuntu (Mac convert here, forgive me) that I disabled the touchscreen entirely with xinput (any accidental touches would subsequently trigger "expose" mode). Also, if you attach a second monitor, the touchscreen input is mapped to the entire virtual desktop, rather than the laptop screen alone. As a consequence, under such circumstances, the touchscreen would only work correctly for taps at 0,0. Huh.

- Superspeed Dock: forget about it entirely, you'll regret buying one for Linux. First of all, not actually a dock, but a port replicator. Nevermind that, that's me being pedantic. Secondly, $180. Nevermind that, that's me being cheap. Thirdly, it doesn't work: Ethernet won't work[4], audio/mic won't work, HDMI won't work, DVI won't work. Very disappointing, I was looking forward to a triple screen setup. Oh well. Counterpoint: Well, Dell says it won't work, so what did you expect? Dell should put some more intelligence into its "also recommended for you" part of the website. Even if I had seen it, I would have expected some kind of hackaround to be possible. I search far and wide - no dice for the stuff that I cared for (screens/audio). It seems to be related to DisplayLink, which simply dropped Linux Support for its 3xxx/4xxx series. Nice.

Apologies for abusing your vertical screen real-estate, but I've been holding back this rant for well over a year now, and "it's your fault for triggering it" (I kid). But seriously, Dell's "Linux ready $2K wonder" would get them sued if they pulled the same crap for Windows. But it's Linux, so who gives a shit, right?

[0] Bought a refurbished X220 from ebay for 1/5 the price of the XPS 13 - installed Ubuntu - everything worked from the get-go. Even the fingerprint reader. I've read similar experiences for the vast majority of Thinkpads, since the IBM days, through the Lenovo days. Highly recommended for Linux, though YMMV.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwR4CWzDtfQ Mine isn't quite as bad (or the recording volume is deceptively high on this video), but still very noticable after a while. Also, not deterministically reproducible (my favourite kind of bug). And no, I am not confused about what a fan sounds like. Fans don't change pitch when you hit the built-in keyboard, or scroll on Chromium, or fart in its direction. The pitch change is what makes it stand out from "background noise", so you won't be able to tune it out if you're one of the lucky ones. At a point of high frustration (with another unrelated bug) I literally shouted "shut your fucking face" at my laptop, waking up my girlfriend in the next room :/

[2] http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/... "We fix coil whine - the fix is: buy 9333s!" - Blatant lie.

[3] Personally, I don't really care about the touchscreen - there simply wasn't an option for the i7 CPU without one, so... "whatever". Still completely broken drivers, though.

[4] And the XPS13 doesn't have an ethernet port either, so you rely on the (not so reliable wifi) entirely for networking, if you need such advanced features. I found some hack to make it work, but I forget which exactly. (Document! Idiot.).

Ditto with coil whine on laptops. (Not same brand.)

My laptop is noticeably whiny a large chunk of the time. Seems to predominantly occur when scrolling image-heavy webpages, or graphics demos with no framerate limiters, but happens other times as well.

Coil whine is terrible! I'm unsure how that gets by anyone's QA.

The "fix" is to disable low power CPU states. Yeah, you cut battery life, but at least it doesn't bore into your brain. I'd also suggest if you have onsite warranty to keep asking for replacements. Until laptop reviewers grow spines, it's probably the only way to get an issued noticed.

Edit: If you want to see if that'll help, just get a program to run at full CPU and see if the sound goes away. On several ThinkPads I noticed this (scrolling activates CPU), then saw people mentioning the CPU suspend states. Bingo.

I'll try this out, but in XPS's case it is very much a Heisenbug.

For some people it triggers only when a secondary monitor is attached (that's me, usually - right now I don't think it is on, but then again the fans are going so they may be covering it).

For others, it immediately goes away if you switch off the backlight (didn't work for me).

I don't recall if someone has mentioned this in the XPS coil whine bughunt, but I'll give it a go the next time my laptop starts whining. Thanks!

Yes. Honestly, if all OSX brought to the table was "works seamlessly with laptop hardware" I'd probably still use it - unless there was a Linux distro that did the same.

Don't know a 'paid Linux OS' but system76.com makes PCs specifically for Linux, which is effectively a limited set of premium hardware.

Do check the reviews, though. For a while, system76 had a terrible reputation for quality, and none of them compare to my t420 even today, as far as I can tell.

I bought a System76 laptop this summer, to replace one I bought in 2012. Both worked great for me. My Ubuntu 14.10 upgrade went off without a hitch, and the 2012 laptop has upgraded without problems as well.

How is the build quality? How is the keyboard these days?

I do seem to have to bang hard on the space bar. It has not been enough of a problem for me to see if I can tune spacebar sensitivity in software.

I've been running linux on a variety of laptops for 15+ years without any issues that were outside my comfort level.

If you are looking for a locked-down consumer appliance of a computer then linux really isn't for you.

That's really the most extraordinary part of the whole movement. 20 years into it it's become mainstream on phones, set top boxes, and embedded devices everywhere but it hasn't also necessarily become some washed down, stupefied, lowest-common-denominator black box that is impenetrable to look at where you rely on the whims of some private company to fix issues that you are unable to communicate to them.

It's still grass-roots and community driven at its core. It hasn't sold out. Anyone is still just a bit a time and hard work away from making a difference - that's pretty powerful.

This is all true and I love it on a theoretical level.

But I write code for a living and I really can't justify ever having my laptop out of commission because of hardware/OS issues.

"Hey, boss. I'm not going to have my work done today because I installed an $DISTRO update and now my laptop is having driver issues."

Well, then, you can't afford to have less than two laptops then - because every single operating system, including Linux, Windows and OS/X, had botched upgrades.

Sure. When I was a freelance consultant doing Windows stuff, I did have a backup laptop for just that reason - in case an upgrade borked things, or my hardware failed.

OSX makes this particularly easy, though: you clone an OSX install with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to an external drive. (I have this scheduled to run nightly) You can then boot another Mac from that external drive.

The result is that you don't have to maintain two separate OSX installs. You can borrow somebody else's Mac, boot from your external drive, and boom - your data and your entire working environment are ready to go.

Of course you could also accomplish this with other operating systems. If your main work environment is a virtual machine, it's pretty trivial.

True, though I wouldn't personally buy two laptops just to avoid update hell. I'd rather just manually update once I'm sure it won't bork my system, and only when I can afford some potential downtime.

That said, I can't imagine too many developers or IT professionals who only have one working computer at their disposal. I am typing this on my Windows 7/Slackware main workstation, with an old laptop running OpenBSD to my left and an old tower running NetBSD to my right. I can jump on either of those two and get back to work in a few minutes if this one goes down.

there's certainly a fanboy hobbyist requirement in making a linux-you-install-yourself work for you. it takes a bit of passion and commitment.

Just like the automobile enthusiast who always disassembles parts of their car and replaces components - although their cars probably break down more often these people are enraptured in the art of auto mechanics. What would be our expensive nightmare is to them, hours of enjoyable pastime.

This is the best explanation of linux in terms of where it sits with respect to other operating systems. I've had a pretty similar experience as yourself with linux on laptops. Sometimes there are surprises, especially when upgrading, but nothing that the community can't handle. And usually the experience is much better with linux than Windows. I bought a Win8 machine last year and the wifi stopped working due to a bad driver. At the time I thought it was bad hardware, but under linux it worked flawlessly. Just recently, with the latest win8.1 updates, the wifi started to work again. Yeah, yeah, I know, the windows apologists will blame the wifi manufacturer, anyone but Microsoft. I got you. BUT... it worked for me under linux!

"If you are looking for a locked-down consumer appliance of a computer then linux really isn't for you." LOL, I was going to say, what about chromeOS? That's a locked down distro based on linux. Luckily it is very easy to install a linux distro on it, as I have. You can have the best of both worlds, a locked down simple to use computer, and a tweak to your heart's delight linux distro.

>> If you are looking for a locked-down consumer appliance of a computer then linux really isn't for you.

As other have pointed out System 76 targets Linux. I've got an old Dell that shipped with Ubuntu, still works great. Someone else mentioned their new series for Ubuntu, search on the Dell site.

>I think there's a market for a linux distro that targets a limited set of premium hardware.

Technically, and conceptually, I think a better observation to make would be that there is a market for premium hardware that works well with linux. Thinkpads used to occupy this niche, but no longer.

I'm adding this here because you gave me the idea indirectly... but what if there were a Linux Distro that targeted OS X? To make a Linux or FreeBSD version of the "Just Works" experience?

Most distros already do this. Most distros already try to "Just Work". A better approach, I think, is to ship (with the distro, autodetected at install time) tweaks for for specific hardware, and to explicitly target developers in the out-of-the-box setup of the system. Fedora[0] (as I've said elsewhere in these comments) is now doing the latter, while still maintaining a "Just Works" system; it would be interesting if they chose to do the former as well.

[0]: https://getfedora.org/

I meant more for the whole focus of the distro to be supporting specifically Mac hardware and it's variations out of the box. For instance, supporting the media keys from Mac and etc.

That would be Elementary OS. It's gotten pretty awesome lately.

I would highly recommend Elementary to jaded OS X users in particular, along with anyone else with an inclination to use Linux. I regularly and happily use all major OSs for coding, design and other super serious stuff, and this is my favorite Linux distro by far.


It's fast.

It looks nice.

And has no window menu whatsoever in any application at all, despite having plenty of space for that.

You video player has detected the wrong ratio for the video you want to see?

Bad luck, elementary will not let you change it.

I've always wondered why this wasn't the case already. The great part about targeting Apple hardware is that there isn't that much of it (comparatively).

I've tried Ubuntu on a Dell XPS 13, certified for 12.04. It was acceptable, resume didn't work. But Webex doesn't work and GitLab BV customers use it, so I bought a MPB yesterday.

>> resume didn't work

I still sometimes have to use Windows for work and resume/hibernate works about half the time. The other half I have to power reset it. That's with HP, Dell and Lennovo running Windows 7.

FYI: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/sleep-and-hibern...

I'm guessing here but I bet the picture for sleep/hibernate ain't all rosy for Macs either.

  > the picture for sleep/hibernate ain't all rosy for Macs either.
I tried and failed to think of a non-smug way to put this but... it is rosy, actually.

This is an issue that is easy to solve when you control the hardware and the software. Also, if a bug crops up the prevents sleep/hibernate from working seamlessly, I'm sure it goes to the top of the priority list.

It's one of those things that has worked well for a long time. I remember on an old Powerbook G4, putting OSX to sleep while it was in the middle of the shutdown process only to wake it later to be welcomed by the shutdown process finishing and powering off.

[Not that OSX didn't have huge warts in those days. SambaFS/CIFS filesystem driver didn't deal well with the server going away for whatever reason. Reads/writes would block forever (because the driver didn't decide to time-out) and anything that attempted to touch it (even Finder) would immediately get sucked in to endlessly waiting.]

I tried OSX on my Thinkpad. It was freezing constantly, sometimes it would not even start. Really bad experience.

Just get supported hw, and you will be fine, applies to all operating systems.

> Running linux on laptops is still a gamble

I believe the same is true of OS X, which only works reliably on something like 12% of laptops sold.

My solution is booting to Windows for the driver support, battery, etc. then VMware. No hardware issues ever, plus additional security.

Yes, I use vagrant and virtualbox and haven't had any issues running a centos or ubuntu. Best of both worlds, and heaven compared to cygwin (oh, the scripts I've written to deal with cygwin).

Most of my scripts run unmodified between Cygwin and Linux (OSX is a different story, if you don't have GNU tools on the path).

The single biggest problem with Cygwin is performance: forking is very slow. When I need to rewrite a script for Cygwin, it's almost invariably to reduce the number of processes spawned.

But almost all of the time, it just works, even building third-party stuff from source. On my home setup, I spend about half my terminal time with Cygwin, the other half in ssh sessions to Linux boxes, and there's no real mental context switch required.

What do you mean by "additional security"? From Windows?

He probably means the additional security of whatever is running in the VM, a compromised VM wouldn't be able to escape its restricted virtual world.

Thinkpads work great.

Did you not see my links to where a ThinkPad, certified by Ubuntu, has broken screen brightness? I own an X140e and it has been a nightmare. I've had it for a year and I still can't get bluetooth to work[1]. I've also tried a Carbon X1 and it leaves much to be desired.

Like I said, it's a gamble. Sometimes the hardware and drivers and phase of the moon is right and everything works. Sometimes no amount of kernel flags and customized modules will fix it. I (along with many others) am willing to pay to not have to worry about potential problems.

1. I ranted a little about it near the end of a recent blog post: http://geoff.greer.fm/2015/01/03/ten-years-of-progress-in-la...

The backlight issue is not a bug inherent to Thinkpads. The kernel works very hard to sort out the whole vendor specific mess about backlight interfaces and works out an appropriate place to manage the controls for users (what users? system daemons? console users? desktop environment? desktop end users?) There has been some major rework around kernel 3.16 and many behaviors have changed.

In the case of ThinkPads, you have three interfaces to control backlight brightness: acpi_video0 (standard ACPI interface), intel_backlight (GPU interface), and thinkpad_acpi (vendor specific interface) all with different semantics conforming to ACPI standard, Windows 7 behaviors, Windows 8 behaviors, and vendor private behaviors, and you have user interfaces including BIOS wired special keys, sysfs, udev, X utils, GPU control panels, and desktop environment settings to control the brightness. You have these moving parts for just one vendor and the kernel needs to coordinate all the madness with all the vendors. And the fixes coming out in latest version kernel might not even make it to your version of distros.

So there is a lot of complexity in the even seemingly trivial screen brightness control. Linux still has much to do with the support of heterogeneous hardware. But this is the price you pay for the freedom.


I use a Carbon X1 and have had no issue. Before I've been through other X's and a W.

I haven't seen you mention it anywhere, so did you try a BIOS / firmware update? I've had similar bugs on multiple Thinkpads before and they were universally cured by an update.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I've updated the BIOS multiple times. It didn't fix anything.

What version of Ubuntu? If it's 12 then you might need to do what I did for my new PC a year ago to get the latest drivers:


That fixed the only issue I had which was with the 1 Gig ethernet. Now I'm on stock 14 and of course it has all the newer drivers already.

I've tried 12.04LTS, 13.10, 14.04LTS, and now 14.10. Sometimes upgrading, sometimes from a clean install. The current issues with my ThinkPad are due to bugs in the latest drivers.

... unfortunately the state of Linux on laptops makes the all-too-common case of _repurposing_ a laptop incredibly painful. :/

... unless you think ahead and only buy (and recommend) Thinkpads.

Very specific Chromebooks fit the bill as well. One that works particularly well is the Acer C720.

Edit: wanted to clarify that this C720 is my current personal portable. My other is a custom built desktop also running Ubuntu.

No (non-chrome) distro currently works out of the box on the c720 (at least among the x64 variants). The most convenient solution at the moment involves recompiling the kernel after every security upgrade, which is hardly ideal.

While technically you're right the worst I have to do is pay attention when a kernel upgrade is part of apt-get dist-upgrade and then run a single script then reboot.

>the worst I have to do is pay attention

Well, that does kinda destroy the convenience of apt.

Since I can't reply to 'aaron-lebo" in the app I'm using:

I'm running Ubuntu and a set of kernel modules I can link later but they are the very same that were then altered for Arch ( which I also tried but had some problems with ). These have carried me from 13.04-14.04 and I'm hoping the 3.17 kernel will be included soon because these components are built right into that kernel version AFAIK.

What distro are you running on the c720? Getting arch to run required loading up modified kernels, none of which ever worked and I just gave up.

I want to quit OS X but can't until I get (as almost everyone else in the world has said):

1.) Laptop hardware/construction that rivals Apples. I hate plastic. I hate it.

2.) A usable trackpad. Apple has by far the most usable trackpad and it works well. Windows/Linux laptops force me to bring a mouse because the trackpads/drivers are essentially crap by comparison.

3.) Hassle-free wireless and graphics card drivers. Linux I'm staring you in the eye poking you in the kidney. This isn't always a crapshoot, but boy howdy can it be.

4.) An supported upgrade path. Too many "PC" manufacturers put their hardware out to pasture the day it's released. No updates. No support.

Windows is largely unusable for me for development work[1]. Babun or cygwin make things better but I hate having this fucked off environments disconnected from the core of the operating system. It's like working/developing in a vagrant box without wanting to...

Linux is damn close but without a good hardware vendor it's a no go. I could buy a Mac and install Linux on it, but what's the point? Might as well just use OS X... and here we are.

[1] I want to emphasize the "for me" part. I'm not trying to say you can't enjoy it, or that it's across the board "shitty" by any means. I gladly recognize for some folks-- it's wonderful.

Thinkpad - the only other laptop that gets as much respect and fanaticism as Macbooks. Out-of-the-box compatibility with most linux flavors. Very eminently upgradable and maintainable (we cannot, in all seriousness, even begin to compare the maintainability of Thinkpads to Macbook)

Oh and the Thinkpad keyboard kicks the Macbook's butt.

The very first thing he said was "he hates plastic".

And keyboard preference is just that, preference. I personally like my Macbook Pro's keyboard to my Thinkpad's. Weird how opinions work. But maybe this guy would actually like the Thinkpad's keyboard...he should go try one out. Do Best Buy's carry them? Are Best Buy's still around?

The commenter above is correct in that I don't like plastic as the primary reason why a Thinkpad is out... Perhaps if they produced an aluminum unit I'd give it a shot.

I really want to emphasize I'm talking about my preference. I don't want to anyway say that the Thinkpad isn't great for some folks.

With that said...

I personally just don't like Thinkpad keyboards at all.

A MacBook Pro (MBP) keyboard for me is much nicer to type on, but it's also completely inferior to a mechanical keyboard (again, for me).

I've looked (online) at some from HP (envy?) and they seemed alright but were often underpowered for my tastes. I really like that I can get a high power i7 in a MBP. Cheap? No. Fast? Yes. I'm okay with paying that premium.

I haven't tried the Lenovo Thinkpads; so, I am admittedly behind the times.

One change to MBPs that I loathe is not being able to upgrade my ram or SSD. I'd be fine if it was a weird format/connector/size, as a result of the form factor, but having them soldered on is a step too far.

I also very much miss my matte screen. Matte "stickers" (?) suck and just look shitty.

The thinkpad X-series are made of carbon fiber[1] and you get the legendary keyboard. The Thinkpad keyboards are IMHO the next best alternative to mechanical keyboards.

[1] http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/x1-ca...

The current X-series keyboards are probably better described as "infamous" than "legendary". Not that they're necessarily bad, but no one who would ever use the phrase "legendary Thinkpad keyboard" was happy to see them go with yet another crappy chiclet Macbook clone.

Have any of the critics you refer to here actually used the current keyboards? For over several months? If that is even the case, they are probably those who prefer form over function, because the current keyboards are objectively no worse than the classical one and even better on certain aspects. The current keyboards have similar tactile feedback measured, even bigger touch space, better design for maintenance, and greater endurance against grease and dirt.

Panasonic's Let's Note series.

It made Alan Kay part with Mac. The downside is their price, otherwise they are superior to Apple's Mac Books.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills, as Yosemite has been the best OS X release since Snow Leopard for me. Runs brilliantly, added a lot of nice features (Continuity and nicer widgets than Dashboard), looks better than Mavericks (and much better than Lion or ML).

Then again, I use a MacBook Air, which doesn't usually seem to be the Mac of choice for people on here, so... shrug

My problem with Yosemite is related to VNC (screen sharing): the desktop freezes for minutes after I end a session.

Sometimes the mouse still moves, but nothing else. About 50% of these cases I need to reboot the laptop. I used to reboot my Mac once a month or less. Now it's daily.

I want to downgrade OSX from 10.10 to 10.8, two versions back, because I read somewhere that it's the fastest of them.

In the last 2-3 years, Apple only added self-serving cloud shit and tried to make everything more like iOS, but the fucking Finder columns still don't auto-resize to the length required to read the filenames without "...." in the middle.

Feature-wise I like it. Unfortunately, I ran into a show-stopper bug immediately after the upgrade: I turned on FileVault (without really meaning to) and it got stuck during the encryption stage. The progress bar doesn't move and the estimated time remaining keeps increasing until it says "months."

So now every time I turn on my MBA 2011, FileVault kicks into high gear and drains the battery in under an hour, rendering the machine unusable unless it's plugged in. The only solution seems to be to reformat the machine. Yeah right, like I have the time for that.

I have an Air as well. I like the visual update, but I do feel like everything runs a bit slower than it did prior to the update.

You're not taking crazy pills. The difference is you're not a Linux hacker that switched because it was hip and who never bothered to put 1/10th of the effort into understanding OS X, and now is complaining because it's not linux and switching back (which is now hip since google declared Apple evil for innovating)

This is just another in the weekly 5 minutes of hate on Apple that Hipster News loves to perpetuate.

> Linux hacker that switched because it was hip and who never bothered to put 1/10th of the effort into understanding OS X

Put two minutes into understanding this[1] and then come back and tell me I'm a hipster douchebag because I needed my damned second screen.

[1] OSX lion 10.7 full screen apps disables second monitor. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3204004 (and hundreds, if not thousands, of duplicate threads for 10.7 and 10.8)

The solution is simple: Don't use the full screen mode unless you have an 11" MacBook Air and need even the topmost 20px of screen estate.

I used full-screen in leu of a Maximize shortcut. As you well know, "Zoom" doesn't quite work as Maximize does in Windows.

So, the solution is actually: Just move and resize your windows with the mouse, like normal people.

Or use one of the many apps that give you all sorts of window controls (including a nice maximize shortcut) like SizeUp (no connection, but happy user).

EDIT: Grammar

I've been considering this for a while -- especially after the Yosemite upgrade, in which my machine has been randomly hanging [0], and in which my machine gets noticeably slower (cmd-tab takes a quarter to a half a second to actually finish switching and repainting windows) over the course of a few days of uptime. OS X software quality is very clearly not a priority at Apple, which is a shame, because this machine is still the best hardware I've ever had the pleasure of using. I don't know what my next machine will be, but if things go at the current pace, I imagine it won't be running OS X.

My previous Linux machine was a Sony VAIO SZ, running Ubuntu 8.04; it did basically everything that I needed, and my only complaint that I'd have if downgrading to it today would be the reduction in battery life. Is there a great set of laptop hardware to run Linux on these days? What do people use when they just want a candy-reduced window system?

[0] MacBook Pro Retina 15", Mid 2012; periodically, usually while I am scrolling through a web page, the machine becomes unresponsive (sound stops, cursor stops), and a minute or two later, the machine powers off. Sometimes it reboots on its own; afterwards, there's no kernel panic log. As far as I can tell, something goes wrong, and after a few minutes, the SMC's watchdog timer gives up, and shoots the machine in the head.

This really sounds like a hardware problem, not Yosemite. I've upgraded 4 Macs (2 Airs, older iMac, and old MacBook Pro) and haven't seen any problems like you describe.

A fresh install will likely fix many of your problems. But it sounds to me like your machine needs a warranty repair.

"Just format it"? Really?

He'd have to format it for Linux, so it seems like he may as well try the OSX re-install first.

But, as the grandparent said, this sounds more like a hardware issue,

If it was a hardware issue, that's one thing, but:

I despise the "fresh install"/"just format it" response to problems - it shows that nobody really knows wtf is going on and/or can't help you, but maybe starting from a clean slate will make it not broken? (Until it happens again and you need to clean-slate it, naturally). Wreaks of Windows ME-level quality in both software and software support.

The "format it for Linux anyway" argument seems a litte fallacious to me. You'd have to format it to put any other OS on it, sure. The point is to get to a state (OS/whatever) where you don't have to resort to random "nuke blasting" methods to fix something.

If formatting once for Linux means I never have to nuke it from space again to fix an issue, then yeah, I'll take it.

I'm seeing this same exact issue on my MBPr13. Occasionally I'll wake the laptop and it will show gray garbage on the screen, so I'm suspecting some kind of video issue / interaction with scrolling in Safari. It really got bad with the 10.10.2 beta, so I'm hoping they fix it with a point release.

I don't get this.

I currently own three Macs: an early-2013 MBP (personal), a mid-2014 MBP (work), and a 2010 Mac Mini. All three are running Yosemite and all three work as flawlessly as can be expected. Which is to say: I have not experienced a single one of the issues that OP has described here.

> The iOS-like GUI and "features" such as Launchpad didn't resonate with me.

Then don't use it Launchpad. I'm pretty sure I have never used Launchpad, except maybe once to see what it was, and it has neither gotten in my way nor caused any issues. I have to admit that I'm puzzled why so many people are so vocal in their complaints about it. If you don't like it remove it from the Dock and forget about it.

> I spent a lot of time going through the System Preferences, figuring out what I had to turn off in order to get my sanity back.

He links here to a Wikipedia page about Notification Center, the implication being that it's a pain. Any device is going to have default settings you don't personally care for. That's why they are preferences.

> Messages in 10.10 is a complete shitshow. It's a stunning regression. I gave up on it shortly after Yosemite was installed. The content was frequently out-of-order, mislabeled as new, and the conversation usually unparsable.

I have not experienced this even once, let alone so frequently as to make Messages unusable.

> There are lots of other little things that irk me: mds being a hog, distnoted being a hog, lack of virtualization, other system services mysteriously firing up, bogging the system down.

I ran into the distnoted issue on Mavericks, but it turned out to be a bug in emacs[1]. Once that fixed both disnoted and the cmd-tab problem were fixed. Other than that, thought, neither mds nor any other process has caused me any issues, ever.

> It doesn't help that the Macbook Pro I have is one of those lemons that overheats easily, thus kicking the fans into "rocket taking off" mode.

Oh. So there is defective hardware in the equation, but he's blaming the operating system. Ok then.

[1] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/gnu.emacs.bug/s47kTT...

I did this once. Biggest waste of time, ever.

Went from NetBSD to OS X in 2002, then to Linux in 2008, then back to OS X in 2011.

I spend almost all of my time in cross-platform apps, but the little inconveniences of Linux on a laptop just weren't worth the trouble back in 2011, and I'd be surprised if anything has changed since then.

OS X at its ugliest and least stable wipes the floor with Linux at its best, imo.

At my last workplace, the OSX laptops were all 2-3+ years old... and were all incredibly slow. I was always surprised that people could get any work done on them. One woman had an OSX laptop that would boot up with the entire 4GB of memory in use, with no applications or agents loaded except maybe spotify. All the shiny UI in the world doesn't make you more productive when you have to wait for a mouse click to register.

The linux machines were whiteboxes of the same age, and while there was a curl or two in setting them up, were still just as speedy and usable when aged as they were when new.

I have a Macbook Pro with 4GB RAM & normal HDD and I don't recommend upgrading past Mountain Lion, since Mavericks uses at least 3GB after booting up. I'm guessing Apple engineers are provided with Mac Pro with blazing speeds so they don't understand the pain of using the latest OSX with 4GB RAM & normal HDD.

As for Spotify, it consumes a lot of memory. You'd better off with iTunes.

I disagree.

While I wholly agree I'm curious to see your reasoning

Edit: wholly agree with OSX not wiping the floor with Linux

Please notice original parent commenter @brandonmenc didn't provide any reasoning either. (S)he just proclaimed "OSX can wipe the floor with Linux" and left it at that as a declaration.

> little inconveniences of Linux on a laptop just weren't worth the trouble

Specifically: sleep/restore, display brightness control, sound, battery life, wifi, fonts, endless desktop tweaking. ymmv, but this stuff has just never been optimal out of the box.

When I say "wipe the floor," I mean in regards to time wasted (measurable) and appearance (subjective).

I am not an Apple fan and when I say it I say it in its strongest sense. But I love my Macboook Air (and find almost anything else sold by them priced ridiculously high). I have been using OSX for last 3.5 years and I moved to OSX from Windows and Ubuntu and it was good till they one decides "let's blur OSX and iOS" and trust me it's been a clear and sharp downhill slope from then.

As per the list you have made, I didn't find any difficulty with anything but fonts and that was ten years ago. Some of my friends still use Ubuntu and when I say this I am not saying with any malaise or Apple-hate (which I honestly do not posses) but I must confess, today's Ubuntu's font rendering is a lot better than OSX's.

Not to mention it just works out of the box now, everything! And if you are the tweaker type, no doubt you have got the endless possibilities. But as you mentioned and rightly so, ymmv.

Ugh I can definitely agree that font rendering has never been better than on OSX.

On another note I would just like to mention 2 years is a long time in Linux and you might want to give it another go.

I definitely like Ubuntu's font rendering engine better than either Windows or OSX's. The one used by other Distros though (FreeType) is like a way inferior version of MS ClearType.

One thing that definitely kills the Linux experience for most people is that they buy a new laptop model and then complain about Linux not supporting their hardware. In fact, the latest Linux kernel image will generally be pretty awesome about hardware support, but most Linux distros ship with an older kernel version.

Apple has been doing a really bad job at UX for the last few years. (Disclaimer: I say this as a person where I'm currently surrounded by two iMac's, a macbook pro, and an iphone, so I'm not exactly a hater).

The weird thing is I don't even know what they're going for.

There are two trends I've seen:

1) Be more like iOS (for example, the dumb reverse scroll (wait sorry, "natural" scroll") and removing things like UI elements reacting to hovering.) I have no idea what's even clickable anymore. That's idiotic. I get consistency, but you shouldn't kick one platform in the knees to replicate the shortcomings of another. OK so touch screens don't have hover. Still, I'd like to have that back on the desktop. It'd be nice to know what's actually clickable.

2) Being more "social". Like now all my OSX devices want to be connected to my phone, and tell me about every goddamn text message. And if I try to ignore this, I get berated by annoying login screens. "Cancel". Hey maybe you want to see that screen again! NO! fuck off! I have no interest in iCloud, stop asking me five times to log in. Apple seems hell bent into annoying you into signing up for a lot of privacy degrading services.

Not only that, but they just choose bizarre fucking defaults. Like, if I sync my iPhone, it will pop up iPhoto automatically with all my recent photos. Jesus christ. On the plus side, I'm boring, so there's nothing really there, but who the hell thought that was a good idea?!? Does apple have any idea what people actually use cell phone cameras for? Sure there are tame uses, but all the same, I mean jesus christ. That's the dumbest default I've seen, and turning it off is basically impossible.

Sorry, but switching the scroll direction was completely justified. It takes literally five minutes to adjust to, and unifies the scrolling direction between touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices.

It's not like, in lieu of this reason, there's some massively compelling argument to prefer one way or the other. If not for touch screens, the direction would be completely arbitrary. It didn't end up that way, so they've changed it now.

There are plenty of reasons to complain about OS X. This isn't one of them.

Why would I ever need it "unified"? Mouse interaction and touch interaction are night and day, I'm in entirely different mental modes when I use either of those devices. What is confusing is when suddenly, up is down. That's legit confusing.

Admittedly I use an actual mouse with actual buttons. I tossed the "magic" mouse into a drawer after a week because it was annoying. Cute, but a pain when you're trying to get actual work done.

Apple prepares their moves well in advance, like a positional chess player. Can you really not see a future in which, for example, there's a display on a MBP trackpad?

And it's not "suddenly". You toggle a checkbox. For about five minutes, you get scrolling backwards. Your brain adapts, and then you move on with your life. Seriously, this is a total non-issue, regardless of whatever "different mental mode" nonsense you toss out. You are literally griping about a five minute period of confusion, and I'm guessing have spent years avoiding it.

Well, I spent about 2 minutes figuring out how to turn it off, so close enough? I mean, I did move on with my life. I scroll up and things move up. I pointed it out because I thought it was dumb, not because I have some sort of obsession with it.

You seem to be making an attempt to paint me as a luddite afraid of the future, but that's really not accurate. I just like my scroll wheel to not move in the wrong direction because "tablets ermahgerd!" I thought it was stupid to break well established behavior in an attempt to "unify" with a device that runs an entirely different operating system on hardware with entirely different input mechanisms.

I don't really care if Tim Cook is playing chess nine moves ahead or something. I just want the damned thing to not get in my way.

I (like many, I suspect) am a die-hard "natural scroll" hater. The fact that you're making physical contact with the thing you're scrolling does indeed make the "natural" direction feel natural on a touchscreen, but not on a separated scrollwheel or touchpad.

Of course you're right, it's an annoyance that's removed in a matter of seconds by clicking a checkbox, and regardless its a difference you'd quickly adjust to, assuming you kept using Macs fairly exclusively.

Still, it's not clear to me that there was any need for "unification" in this area. But then again, I don't use OS X anymore (and no, the scroll direction wasn't the reason).

Why would anyone be a "hater" toward natural scroll? The decision of which way a trackpad should scroll while swiping would otherwise be completely arbitrary. It's like being a hater of driving on the left vs. right side of the road (except in this case, I'm guessing it takes longer than five minutes to get used to).

> Why would anyone be a "hater" toward natural scroll?

Because it's backwards compared to how every computer ever treated it before apple decided to reverse it? Hate hate hate hate hate. Haters ball.

Several years ago, I wrote the iPhone app for a US retail company I worked for, and we had an internal beta test list. Users had no hope of being able to do the complicated dance of getting me their UDID and installing the resulting beta app through iTunes, I'd just have them bring me their phone, and I'd plug it into my Mac, install the provisioning profile needed, and get the app on their phone.

I saw several naked co-workers that way, generally with them standing over my shoulder while I attempted to casually nuke iPhoto without drawing any more attention to it.

Am I the only one here who likes natural scrolling?

Decades of Windows and Linux I figured I'd give it a shot for a few weeks before I would eventually give up on it.

It took maybe a day, I'm hooked and now everything else is weird.

This exactly. The amount of griping over such a non-issue is ridiculous. It takes almost nothing to adapt to the change, but people act like Apple switched their keyboards from QWERTY to Kanji.

While I haven't switched to another OS, Yosemite has been the worst release of OS X that I've used (I've been an OS X user since Jaguar).

The general rule is to wait until at least 10.x.1 (or later), but even now, there are still bugs that indicate that there is little to no structure release or QA process at Apple, and it's likely that few teams have gotten the religion of testing.

    * In 10.0.0, systems on Exchange in our office would 
      freeze after anywhere from 5-60 minutes. Only a hard 
      reboot would make them responsive.
    * smart mailboxes no longer live update for me. I just 
      have to trut that the messages I've deleted or moved 
      will be gone when I manually reload the mailbox.
    * replying to calendar events in Mail no longer provides 
      any indication that some action has been performed. 
      (Maybe this is related to the smart mailbox issue 
    * Calendar will just stop drawing every once in a while 
      requiring a restart.
    * Calendar frequently barfs on event updates and requires 
      reverting to the server version for any hope of 
      reconciling the changes.
    * Safari frequently consumes all memory and all CPU for 
      lighter workloads than I used to run (because I know it 
      will go out of control at somepoint).
    * The background of the login screen frequently has 
      graphical glitches which are likely caused by 
      overwriting areas of graphic or texture memory (this 
      seems to happen on Intel or dedicated graphics cards)
    * iPhoto forced a database update, crashed in the middle 
      of the migration, and corrupted a decade old library.  
      This happened immediately after time machine told me 
      that it needed to start a new a backup and deleted my 
      most recent good backup.
With all of the pulled releases of iOS and Safari lately,I really hope someone at Apple is mandating some soul searching and release process changes. I'm not happy to act as Apple's QA department.

Edit: formatting

Single data point (me):

The pains of switching were greatly exaggerated in my head.

First you get a good base: Ubuntu / Debian / Fedora (?), etc.

You may have to spend a few hours sorting out drivers. I personally haven't had to do so for ages.

Then you ditch Unity (or $default) and try out a few window managers until you find what you like.

Then you "fix it" by customising away your annoyances and tailor it to your workflow.

I'm too tired to re-write this to sound less preachy - so downvotes are welcome - but I was a diehard OSX (up to 10.6) user until I put my toe in the Linux pool. I was expecting it to be freezing and "braced for impact", but actually, it was quite warm and inviting.

Exception: If need OS X apps, your path may be met with more friction. If there's a Windows equivalent to the OS X app, give Wine a try (Windows Emulator) - I keep hearing about how it gives people grief, but as far as I've seen, even my (distinctly non-technical) mother has installed and used small Windows applications without a glitch (or even realising that she is running Windows applications on her Mint). I think I read about some Mac-wine kind of thing, but not sure how mature it is - Google will help you.

To borrow a slogan: Just do it. You may be as surprised as I was.

I migrated from desktop Linux to OS X and use FreeBSD and Linux on my other computers. OS X does more right (for me) than any other commercial or open source Unix or Unix-like system, but that doesn't mean its perfect, and its growing further from being perfect as time goes on.

Have you tried this with a fresh account? I've only seen one of those problems (Mail being stealthy about Exchange calendar replies except for deleting the message). The fact that you're seeing graphical glitches sounds like you might have a hardware problem which could also explain the corrupted data.

There are numerous accounts of the graphical glitch issue. It only happens on the background layer, and its happening on a machine with integrated graphics, not one of the machines with well known AMD graphics issues. The type of artifact is very similar to texture memory being overwritten.

It could very well be a hardware issue, but since it only happens at the login screen and it consistently happens only after the Yosemite update, I'm fairly certain its software.

I feel like whenever I click on a Geoff Wozniak link it's because the domain is 'wozniak'.

e.g. - I think it's Woz.

That's the main reason I clicked the link, honestly. "Woz quitting OS X? I wonder what he has to say about it."

are they related?

According to this post[0] (which, incidentally is from a Steve Wozniak Slashdot "AMA" exactly 15 years ago - 2000/01/03[1]), they are not.

0: http://beta.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3230&cid=1410837

1: http://apple-beta.slashdot.org/story/00/01/03/1035237/interv...

Sorry for being clueless, but how do you access the answers?

You're not clueless; the answers aren't visible/available.

Truth be told, I'm feeling the same urges. The golden age of my Mac was years ago. I switched to Macs in 2002, and had the most amazing computing period of my life between then and approximately 2011. Since then the random reboots of both the uncontrolled variety and controlled (though forced through needing to kick a random weird glitch) variety have increased to the point that I no longer consider my computer to be stable.

Frankly, it feels like Windows in the 1990s. No, I don't have rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia on, something is broken in the way Apple produce OS X now, and I just can't with good conscience recommend a Mac anymore. At least weekly I experience random lockups, reboots, temporary freezes, full freezes that require cold cycle, etc.

Yes, my computer passes all diagnostics. No, Apple haven't found anything wrong. Yes, I'm incredibly technical and have decades of experience. Yes, I have fully re-installed and re-formatted and been through no end of measures to correct a phantom problem. No I'm not imagining things.

OS X just sucks compared to what it was a few years ago.

I'm not quite ready to abandon the platform, simply because I haven't done the home work to find another hardware supplier to run some other OS on.

Does anyone have any pointers or suggestions regarding laptops of comparable build quality and design as a MacBook Pro? This physical device and form factor is the thing keeping me in the Apple world. Otherwise, I'm ready to jump ship.

To those on here with plenty of access to people who could shake things up, perhaps with a league of hardware engineers and industrial designers, and a healthy dose of funding, mark my words, there is room in this industry for a shakeup right now. I'll bet dollars to donuts I'm not the only one awaiting a viable alternative.

The librem 15 is what I'm going to as a free software laptop to replace my air

Although I'm not a fan of the left-offset main keyboard and trackpad (I'd prefer leaving out the numeric keypad section), it looks really nice otherwise.

Indeed. I corresponded with the CEO about offering a non-offset keyboard and centered trackpad and he declined to consider it. I used an offset Dell for a couple of years and never could learn to love it.

Thanks - I'll check this out!

The Librem 15 seems like a nice system, especially once the creator was disabused of the supposed merits of Nvidia for a free-software computer.


Thanks :-)

>Does anyone have any pointers or suggestions regarding laptops of comparable build quality and design as a MacBook Pro?

Check out the Razer Blade 14". It's like a black/green Macbook Pro with a real GPU, higher res screen, and thinner chassis. It could use a magsafe and thunderbolt, but after reading about thunderstrike, I'm not missing that last one so much :D

How is the fan noise on these?

After experiencing the awesomeness that is Continuity and Handoff, I wouldn't give up OSX for Windows/Linux. I do agree with some of his points about instability especially for .0 releases, better wait after a few patches before upgrading.

I do disagree about Yosemite's installation time, coincidentally I just updated my wife's 2011 MBA last night and it took around 40 mins. The funny thing is once Yosemite was installed everything works as expected, the only setup that I needed to do was relogin her Apple account.

Using Linux as your desktop entails doing a lot more setup and configuration, and it's very tedious to constantly searching for solutions to functionality that should've worked right out of the box.

> I do disagree about Yosemite's installation time, coincidentally I just updated my wife's 2011 MBA last night and it took around 40 mins.

He's referring to the infamous bug for Homebrew users or just anyone with a lot of files in /usr/local on which the OS X install chokes hard, copying each file individually, taking many hours to complete the install.

Yup. I have a huge LaTeX installation on my Mac. Took over a day to update to Yosemite.

Ah I personally haven't encountered that since I don't use homebrew, I just had to update my macports, I didn't have to reinstall my stuff.

I'm convinced there is a real productivity loss due to OSX's limited notifications system.

On OSX you get a tiny little bubble in the upper right from your chat program and if you miss it, too bad. I've seen people resorting to shouting or tapping on shoulders because of this. Trying to do something as simple as change the font size was difficult or impossible.

On linux I get nice big notifications. If I miss or choose to ignore them, my WM highlights windows that need my attention and they stay that way till I get to it.

There are fixes no doubt, but this lack of "customizability" permeates OSX and seems to be getting worse.

> There are fixes no doubt, but this lack of "customizability"

System Preferences -> Notifications -> [Application] -> Style -> 'Alert'

Under that it says

> Banners automatically appear in the upper-right corner and go away automatically. Alerts stay on screen until dismissed.

How about font size? How long they stay? Etc?

There is a very limited number of things to change in there is what I am saying.

1. As others have pointed out, you can change the style to alert

2. The system notification center (the icon on the upper right corner or a two-finger swipe from the right on a trackpad) lists every notification you haven't cancelled:


As I said many hours before your comment; these solutions are clunky and limited compared to what's available to me on linux...

You can change to notification style to be an "alert" rather than a "banner". Alerts do not go away unless dismissed, so they cannot be missed even if you were afk for 5 minutes. That should solve the missed notifications problem.

It sort of solves it, in a clunky way compared to the elegant setup I easily achieved in linux...

Why choose any one operating system at all?

It's pretty tough to a buy a run of the mill laptop (as I do every few years) without Windows pre-installed.

I have been triple booting Windows, Ubuntu, and Arch linux all from the same laptop for the past few years now and loving it.

Windows is great when I need stuff to "just work". For example, when I want to quickly plug my laptop into the hdmi cable to watch a movie in better quality on my TV. Or if I need to quickly print out something on a random printer the plug and play features built into windows are amazing.

I spend most of my time using Arch Linux, with Ubuntu being my fallback if I really run into trouble (Arch can be... finicky. But I wouldn't use anything else.) with what I am trying to do with linux.

I would probably have OS X on there too if it came for free with my laptop purchase to be honest.

With an SSD Hard Drive any operating system you desire is only a reboot and 15 seconds away. So why choose?

Admittedly I've never used OS X and have been a Linux user for years (so I may have picked up some things along the way that seem like second nature now), but I've not had any troubles that so many talk about. i3 and KDE do everything I need wonderfully.

How much better are Firefox and Thunderbird on OS X? And media players and terminals? Because other than a calculator or an occasional spreadsheet, those are about the only native applications I ever use.

I am a thrifty guy, so almost never buy new laptops but used Thinkpads that are a few years old... this might explain why I don't usually have any driver problems.

I just can't figure out, for what I do, how OS X would be any better? Maybe one of these years I'll get off my wallet and find out what all the fuss is about. Or maybe not.

The OS X terminals, both the built-in Terminal.app and iTerm 2, are better than what I have found in Linux so far.

Both do automatic text wrapping and reflow it on window resize, which is hard to find on Linux terminals. Also, neither relies on the control key for menu item key equivalents. Copy is Command-C, SIGINT is Control-C.

On Linux, Control-C is copy everywhere except in terminal windows; there Control-C is SIGINT and Control-Shift-C is copy. I often type the wrong one, and either fail to copy text, or worse, abort a long-running process by accident.

When you use Linux, do you use key equivalents in the terminal (copy, paste, etc.)? How do you handle the inconsistencies with other apps?

> Both do automatic text wrapping and reflow it on window resize, which is hard to find on Linux terminals. Also, neither relies on the control key for menu item key equivalents. Copy is Command-C, SIGINT is Control-C.

I actually hadn't noticed this as I usually run things inside of screen, but it seems that there are options[1].

> When you use Linux, do you use key equivalents in the terminal (copy, paste, etc.)? How do you handle the inconsistencies with other apps?

I'll give you that one. This bugged me at first (usually doing Ctrl+Shift+C in Chromium, I've never done Ctrl+C in a terminal inadvertently) so I made an extension that calls me an idiot when I Ctrl+Shift+C in Chromium. That cured it fast.

What I like about Linux is that I haven't found something that can't be done - for example, if this bothered you sufficiently, you could remap Super-c to be copy universally - this[2] seems like it would work. The terminal would possibly need its own override.

[1] http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/24793/looking-for-x-...

[2] http://askubuntu.com/questions/10008/how-to-make-keyboard-wo...

On KDE I use konsole, on i3, urxvt.

I've never noticed the lack of text wrapping and reflow until you mentioned it, but you are correct, at least on KDE that I'm using at the moment.

I think the reason I've never consciously noticed this before is because I'm almost always using VIM in the terminal when typing lines of any length. With VIM, line wrap and reflow work just fine in the terminal. I actually had to check that it didn't work with naked terminal commands, and was a bit surprised when it didn't. I suppose I haven't typed many raw terminal commands of the length to wrap, and in the rare case I did, I must have just dealt with it. So it's cool there is a terminal that wraps... that's worth a point or two... but not that a big a deal in my particular case.

For copy-paste I just use the mouse. Works normally on konsole (right-click highlight > select copy, same > select paste). On urxvt I paste by clicking left and right mouse together. Keybindings could be set easily enough in KDE and I believe there is a plugin called "xclip" for urvxt that would do the same. I haven't bothered because what I have seems to work fine and I rarely copy/paste (again, except in VIM which has it's own thing). Admittedly a nice terminal all set up that didn't require customization would be cool. But I take my setup from machine to machine anyway in config files so again...not that big of a deal.

I'm not sure about inconsistencies with other apps. The Control-C thing I'm used to. I don't hit Control-C to copy in the terminal by habit at this point although I could see how that could be an adjustment.

Anyway, cool... thanks. I didn't realize OS X had a very nice terminal. Good to know.

For copy/paste on Linux, I use ctrl/shift + insert. Seems to work everywhere including command line.

The pangs of dislike started to show up in 10.7 (Lion). The iOS-like GUI and "features" such as Launchpad didn't resonate with me. As things progressed, I became increasingly annoyed with the environment.

I've never seriously used Linux, but my recent "upgrade" experiences have not been good: http://jakeseliger.com/2015/01/01/5k-retina-imac-and-mac-os-... . Finder crashes; FCP X crashes; a user account crashes; permissions problems; migration problems. Snow Leopard rarely if ever crashed.

I've noticed less finder crashes in Yosemite than any previous version and FCP X has been incredibly stable even as I push it more than ever before. Running Yosemite and FCPX on both a new Mac Pro and a two year old Macbook Pro.

I will say that I've had more permissions issues than any prior install.

> I've never seriously used Linux

You mean "OS X"?

No, he's disclaiming his anecdote by admitting up front he isn't like the article's author who will now switch to Linux. He's just an OS X user who has the same complaints (but, apparently, no recourse)

I dual booted for years, and finally made the switch to Linux full time just over two years ago.

Configuring a fresh Linux install takes a bit of effort, but that effort is adding things I want to make it just the way I like, rather than removing unnecessary cruft to get it more or less how I like. That's a key difference for me.

10.10 upgrade was a full reinstall PITA. But the tweaks, hackarounds (EasySIMBL, pqrs.org, etc.) and firewalls (icefloor and hands off) makes the pretty thing fairly usable.

Nit picks:

- iBooks uses up 100% of CPU randomly by pegging storeacountd, even without internet access.

- Mail.app is slow to start and hangs if using email rules to send notifications.

- Not all apps support a dark toolbar.

- There should be more UI LNF's themes that are pluggable.

The cost of Linux though it dependency hell on both Fedora- and Debian-based systems that aren't developed as a whole like FreeBSD or OSX, where library dependencies break things. Sure you can get ZFS going and basically compile most anything on a Linux box without having to wait for the web developers that don't understand UNIX philosophy to maintain a technical dilettante's popular package system. But really, you should be developing in isolated containers as similar to production as possible using something like Docker and Xen|KVM.

Also, the Linux kernel has bazillions of syscalls that change with the wind compared to *BSD and XNU (under a few hundred).

If I had to choose another OS, it would likely be PC-BSD. If that didn't work, the BATNA would be Mint. Failing that: arch.

My primary professional OS progression went something like:

Slackware -> Debian -> Ubuntu -> OS X.

As with the author, I'm pretty sure I'm done with OS X. If I want to go back to Linux, what is the best path? Mint? Back to Ubuntu? Something new?

I was a big fan of Mint for a while, but baseline Ubuntu gives you so much flexibility to just choose a DE (or lack thereof), including Cinnamon if you want, that I don't see the point in using the altbuntus anymore. Just install the DE you want and switch it in the login screen.

You might be sacrificing running the bleeding edge of that particular environment, but instead you get kept more up to date on basically everything else (not that the others lag that much, but you're probably waiting a little longer for the next point release at the very least).

Yes, I completely agree. Ubuntu is fantastic at auto-detecting your hardware and making everything Just Work (by Linux standards - your mileage may vary). So take advantage of that base but use whatever window manager you want. Easily selectable in the login screen.

Honestly, any Debian derivative plus a decent window manager. As far as WMs go, in my recent-ish experience GNOME 3 was a gong-show and Unity was similarly terrible - it suffers from the same "my computer is a phone!" UI problems that OS X does.

If you're willing to put up with a little fiddling around, a tiling window manager like XMonad is really worth the learning curve. I've used it exclusively for work for the past year and it's been a revelation.

I have never had a linux laptop, so I can't make recommendations there, but both debian and arch are quite nice. IMO, Ubuntu tends to be a bit too aggressive about adopting new technologies before they are ready (I'm happy to benefit from the increased attention, and bugfixes that happen in new components due to others using Ubuntu though).

I run Fedora w/ MATE, pretty set-and-forget, not a lot of issues.

Back to where you started. Slackware.

I did enjoy Slackware as a learning experience all those years ago, but nowadays I like to spend more time building things and less time futzing with the OS.

Eh, I don't know... I don't really fuss with it much. Admittedly I did the first few times setting up, but now my desktop dot-files move with me, get a minor edit every so often, and once every couple of years I have to rebuild some packages....

I guess if needed lots of packages on the fly, or changed machines every few months it would be different. But it's once in a great while... then solid and stable for a long time.

To be frank, I would rather build packages from source. It's not I'm suspicious, but I run into plenty of problems with versions etc. using package tools, and it's really not that much more work just to do it the basic way.

Tiger was the most stable release I've ever used.

I haven't upgraded to 10.10 yet. It just seems like a lot of useless pain. I have no need for any of the "features" they've added.

To be fair to OSX, when you do an "upgrade" in modern "user friendly" linux distros (Ubuntu, for example), you would be smart not to click the "upgrade me to the next release" button. It's usually worse than the experience on OSX in my experience by a large margin.

I agree with the poster on almost everything he said, but I still don't know if the pain is enough for me to justify switching back to linux. The amount of time spent configuring things is just wasted time. I lost the drive to spend countless hours tinkering years ago.

"Turning things off" in OS X usually is a preference pane option. Every now and then you have to do something a bit more elaborate to get the behavior you desire. I'd argue that on Linux, the time spent turning the things you want on and off is far more time consuming.

I've noticed a pattern. If you're unhappy with the "default out of box experience" of an OS/distribution and you need to apply an increasing amount of tweaks/hacks to get it to be the way you like, you will be unhappy and eventually switch away.

How "pleasant to use" the default experience is, and "number of steps needed to be done" after a fresh OS install are a very important metric to me. If see that metric going up, I will switch to something where that metric is lower. I care more about this metric than the end result usability (including personal tweaks).

Tweaks and adjustments are fine in the short term, but in the long term, if you're unhappy with the design decisions and the direction the OS developers are making, there's no winning.

I'm more happy to make small sacrifices and adjust myself to to like the default experience so that this metric can be lower, and I can enjoy using the OS more. But that's me.

Just an FYI to everyone else who saw the domain name and clicked through, this is not by Steve Wozniak, it is by someone unrelated named Geoff Wozniak. Good article however.

I'm getting more interested in dipping my toes back into linux laptops, partly for privacy and control reasons, and partly because I'm finding it more difficult to develop on OS X as I am more frequently using micro services and docker and virtualization. I haven't picked a platform yet though because I would like to see how "free" (libre) I can get for privacy/control reasons, and it's time-consuming to make the right choice - I see a couple Trisquel-related options including a 2006 Gluglug thinkpad (but it appears to be perpetually out of stock), and a "novena" (https://www.crowdsupply.com/kosagi/novena-open-laptop) but it looks like that will still have some non-free stuff in it.

That thinkpad is my main computer. You have full control over it - brings back the pleasure to do things.

Now that I'm mostly done with my hacks (check http://en.blog.guylhem.net/post/106153399669/how-to-recreate...), I have a spare one to sell. It's the tablet version, with a wacom digitizer (works with xournal)

$ systemd-analyze Startup finished in 763ms (kernel) + 579ms (userspace) = 1.343s

Email me if you are interested.

No idea if these guys will ship or not, but this is another option: https://www.crowdsupply.com/purism/librem-laptop

I've been using OS X since 10.2, though I keep a Windows box around for games. I also feel that OS X has become less stable and performant in recent years, and every now and then I spin up a Linux distro on a spare hard disk just to try it out.

These experiments rarely last very long, and almost always end because the video/graphics support is just so terrible. I have yet to find a reliable way to play videos without horrible screen tearing.

But I don't know what alternative there is. Windows' experiments with Metro was a disaster. PC-BSD has some really nice features (I love ZFS and use it on my fileserver) but has the same issues with hardware support, especially graphics hardware support.

I fear for the future.

I had the same complaints wrt video tearing, however in very recent distros (F21+) the issue has largely been resolved.

In non-composited environments, tearing would happen unless a hardware overlay used.

In composited environments, tearing would be inevitable because the compositor would use a nonsynchronized back-to-front-buffer copy. This has largely been replaced with a synchronized buffer flip, so that there is no tearing at all.

The one remaining issue I have is with fullscreen Firefox videos. These get "direct" output (they skip the compositor) but don't use a hardware overlay, and therefore tear. There are a couple solutions for this that I'm playing with.

All video tearing problems I had on my laptop were solved with the TearFree option of the intel driver: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Intel#Tear-free_video

Which would be great, except I have Nvidia graphics.

I play Steam games on my 4 years old machine(ati graphics card, Athlon processor) on Ubuntu 14.04. The only issue i had was font disappearing in Civ and Democracy 3. Just waiting for Skylake to upgrade.

I wonder if you have tried the Win10 preview.

Windows 10 is essentially what Windows 8 should have been, or at worst, 8.1. It's quite usable. The ugliest thing in Win10 is the Store, integrated into the Start menu. The Store is filled with junk apps and outright scams. Microsoft refuses to fix these issues. In fact, I reported a fake Dropbox app that listed "@Microsoft Corporation" as the publisher. MS wrote back to say the app was fine, and if the developers were lying, I should just leave a review.

The result is that for many things you might type into the start menu, you get offers to install scams on your PC. Idiotic.

> In fact, I reported a fake Dropbox app that listed "@Microsoft Corporation" as the publisher. MS wrote back to say the app was fine, and if the developers were lying, I should just leave a review.

Or the other form of support: post to Twitter/HackerNews/etc. and light a fire that they will quickly need to put out...

AFAIK, there's no way to link to the Windows Store, just the phone store (which is marginally better). I've written Satya and the PM in charge of the store. Many devs are in contact with them about it. There's even a third party report on how bad the situation is, and in August, MS announced they were cleaning up and published reportapp@Microsoft.com, which seems unmonitored.

It's so bad that Netflix required three takedowns for the same publisher before MS decided not to allow scam "official" Netflix apps. The second hit for Facebook is a scam (FB has no way I found to report stuff if you don't have a FB account - lame for security.)

I'm betting that some high level people at Microsoft have a bonus tied to "number of apps published". That's the only way this crap makes sense. Even unpaid 14yr olds would do s better job cleaning up the Store. It's far worse than Android Marketplace ever was.

Windows 8 wasn't all that bad. Relative to Windows 7 it was just two steps forward and two steps back. For all the Metro haters: the core workflow to launch applications (winkey + number keys or winkey + search + enter) is still the same as Windows 7.

Windows 8.1 improved things a bit by identifying some scenarios where Metro was unnecessary and keeping it out of the way. So relative to Windows 7 it's now two steps forward and one step back.

I've used the Windows 10 preview and early signs suggest that it's going to be two steps forward from Windows 7.

Windows 7 is my preferred modern OS. For a time in work I was using a windows 8 machine and I found it bafflingly bad. What were the 2 steps forward you mentioned? I'm curious. In my experience it was just 2 steps backward, period.

There's big ticket improvements for performance [1] and a huge step forward for multiple monitor support [2]. I've given third-party multiple monitor utilities the boot. Multiple monitor support in Windows 8 is squarely in "good enough" territory.

There's smaller improvements too, like the new Task Manager [3].

There's also mundane stuff like rejigged NTFS this and that [4].

Client Hyper-V is a welcome addition.

etc. etc.

[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/10/07/reducing-runti...

[2] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/21/enhancing-wind...

[3] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/10/13/the-windows-8-...

[4] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/09/redesigning-ch...

Thankyou for a very informative response! My reaction to that stuff.. 1. Good! 200Mb of extra free memory, but big whoop! (when you have 16 gb) 2. Dont care. I never use multiple monitors, cus I only have one set of eyes. 3. Basically the same stuff as before arranged differently (they have just moved some stuff from msconfig into task manager) 4. That does seem like a good improvement

One thing I had heard was that game performance was better on windows 8 and 8.1 compared to 7. Though after looking up some benchmarks investigating that, it does not seem to be the case. There are some differences either way depending on game/graphics card but they are very minor anyway.



I kept using xp until 7 came out. This is also what industry did. So I'll probably wait until they bring out another one aimed at industry.

"There's big ticket improvements for performance"

Unfortunately, the improvements were negated by the lame ass UI, which thankfully Microsoft will be ditching.

"Windows 8 wasn't all that bad"

That's funny, because ALL of the non-technical regular people that I know of hate windows 8. A lot of them downgraded to Windows 7.

Must be lots of windows fanbois here, otherwise I'm not sure why I got downvoted. Really, they may not want to hear this, but Windows 8 really sucked. Microsoft knows it, and that is why they're running away as fast as they can from it.

No justification for the downvotes? I'll chalk it up to fanboism.

LOL, more downvotes? That's bad form.

Are you new to the Internet? Replying to yourself 3 times in a row complaining about downvotes = downvote magnet.

Yeah, kind of new to this. Not to the internet though.

If the core workflow was actually the same, then businesses wouldn't have been so loathe to upgrade to it. From what I've witnessed, few people launch their primary applications through text search - they prefer shortcut icons, whether they be in the menu, taskbar, or desktop.

This isn't necessarily true. Like so many things, perception is reality. People oftentimes do things out of fear--in this case, fear that their old workflow isn't the same--rather than rational conclusion.

Shortcuts on the desktop and pinned applications on the taskbar remain the same. The new start screen permits shortcuts. All the existing avenues are still wide open.

I came into the OS X game very late, starting at 10.8 (which was at a start up last summer). It took some adjusting, but in the end, it beats the hell out of Windows for a coding environment.

One thing that I loathed, though, was Messages. I find myself unable to make it work. Contacts? Nope, can't find 'em. Oh, wait there's one--nope, it's gone. Oh, wait, it's there again. Oh, did you send a message? Nope, it didn't get through. Sent another one? That one got through, but not the reply.

OS X is fine, but Messages is horribly, horribly broken. I could write better software, and I am a self-taught programmer.

Have you taken the time to check if it's properly configured or tried contacting Apple Support?

For what it's worth, I've had a couple friends who had issues with Messages and it was primarily iCloud related.

Aside from a few initial issues when running the beta's, I haven't had an issue with Messages for the last four or five months.

One thing that stands out for me:

> I've gone back to a desktop system running Linux (for now) and while I consider it markedly inferior to OS X in terms of usability, it feels like a personal computer again.

I like that Woz recognizes that usability (interface design, etc.) is (a) not the most important thing, but (b) it is still important. The idea that usability is the only thing that matters are the reason why people are moving away from OS X; the idea that usability is just useless bells and whistles is why Linux has never gained a major desktop foothold. There needs to be a balance.

All extremely valid points. I don't really see the upgrades to OSX as very useful and have made things strangely unstable (since it seems that even the basic OS gets broken on each release). I think OSX is still the best OS to use though even if it doesn't look like it's headed in a good direction (I also do xCode dev sooo...). I wonder if some of the tools to turn off these new features could significantly improve the experience, though you'd still need to wait a few months after a 1.0 release of the OS to wait for the basic stability fixes

I'm amazed that no one talks about the issue of Applications on Linux... I've been running OS X as the main OS for the last 6 years and Windows since before that ever since Windows 3.0.

Also tried most of the *nix favours throughout the years - but so far the apps have been unable to replace those on OS X.

What i failed to find as replacement on Linux:

- User friendly two-way firewall like Hands Off! or Little Snitch.

- File-organizer app like Hazel.

- Multi-tab-column file-browser like Pathfinder.

- Screenshot + annotation manager/editor like Voila.

- Window layout manager like Moom.

- Adobe Creative Suite (Yes, i can run it in a VM - but it's s l o w!)

I am >< close to quitting it myself, for all the reasons he mentioned. I started using OS X in '04 (on Panther) and have been using it almost exclusively until recently when the bugs of Yosemite made me run back to Linux a few times.

I used to confidently recommend OS X to people as something that "just works". I can no longer do so. It's a buggy steaming pile.

For me, one of the things that made OS X so easy to use was the quality of the third-party apps. Right now, I have no less than 80 third-party apps installed on my MBP. I keep telling myself that that is a LOT of money to invest, to walk away. But then I remind myself that is the "sunken cost fallacy"... I cannot get the money back.

I wish that many of the same third-party apps existed for Linux. I'd be HAPPY to pay top dollar for stuff on Linux, just like I did on OS X. But at this point, it's just not there.

I will go back to using Linux as my main machine, and LOTS of workarounds for the productivity apps I have on OS X.

I already have a ThinkPad W530 that is an absolute beast of a machine (32GB of RAM, 3 SSDs w/2.1TB of usable space), but I may trade in my MBP for a Chromebook Pixel. At this point, it's closer to "just works" than anything Apple is offering. :/

This is a rather pointless debate but I have to agree that OSX is getting too "consumer" for this audience. I have a Thinkpad and it runs Linux great. A lot of the problems people here refer to are really where they should be on a consumer operating system. I've noticed this over recent years, hiring new intake from the top schools every year has seen a change. When I ask them what they want for their development machine. It used to be Macs with a sprinkling of Linux/Thinkpad but now I see most going for Windows 7. Since all of our software is linux based the client machine only needs to be able to run ssh sessions but it's interesting how many hard core developers want consumer operating systems. I'd not dream of doing work anything other than a Unix system, but maybe that's just because I've grown up with it. Starting out with HP-UX on HP-9000 machines, Apollo, Next, NetBSD, Netware, etc etc. When my machine doesn't work the way I want it I generally know how to fix it on Linux. For the majority of people using a consumer operating system that has nice gui tools for changing things is usually better unless you know what you're doing.

Coming back to ditching OSX, the recent Chrome/Netflix ability has made a big difference for me. That was the one last thing that was a pain, it was always possibly, but not always very reliable and a little tedious, but now there's nothing left (besides of course Photoshop) that doesn't run on Linux. It's really less about the operating system and more about what you want to run, if it's games then windows, if it's designer/photographer then OSX, if it's nerd (git/gcc/python etc) then it's linux.

From a usability perspective, I consider OS 10.10 the best version of OS X ever (and I manage development and UX work in my day job). It's the reliability and QA that has really been slipping with OS X in recent versions. There are a lot of bugs, many features take several patches to work properly, and with the yearly release schedule, a new version of OS X doesn't really become stable until a new version is announced.

I've been using OS X since 10.1, and the reliability of OS X has taken a dive ever since 10.7 launched. 10.6 was certainly the high water mark for reliability in OS X, and probably the best traditional version of OS X (and a version that I'd recommend a lot of people and companies stick with if it were still patched).

Feature wise, I really like 10.10. It makes me more productive, the software is easy on the eyes, and the iOS and iCloud integration is pretty great. I like all of that. But I really wish Apple would stop trying to push out new OS versions so fast and concentrate more on QA. Even iOS has been seen some bug creep lately.

I get pushing iOS, since the mobile space is so new, but do I really need a new desktop OS every year built on a paradigm from 30 years ago?

Usability also has taken quite a dive with recent iterations of OS X. iOS, Windows and Android are all not only much more obvious to use for the average user but are also much more pleasant to look at. For a lot of basic stuff I need additional software on OS X (e.g. Spectacle) and the OS feels burdened by all the various UI approaches for basically the same thing (Launchpad, Dock, Expose, ...)

I recently did the same thing: switched my personal laptop from Mac OS (since 2004) back to Windows. Couldn't be happier.

All my development environment transferred without a hitch (bash and git worked right out of the box) and compared to Windows 8, Mac OS feels like a clunky, antiquated OS.

I still use Linux (work desktop) and Mac (work laptop) but Windows is really where I feel I'm the most productive these days.

What system to use for development is a good question. Both popular commercial OS's (OSX & Windows) [& Canonical with Unity, FWIW] are moving inexorably towards a more mobile/tablet/touchscreen feel, with an ever-expanding set of bells & whistles for their core consumers. I think OSX became fashionable again among devs over the last few years due to its out-of-the-box UNIX-like terminal and underlying software stack, plus installation tools such as Homebrew and PIP (along with base level disdain for anything Microsoft).

Presently I run Mint in virtualbox on my Surface pro 3, because native Linux support does not appear to be there for multi-touch screens and features such as the detachable keyboard. Multi-touch and some sort of tablet mode (ie virtual kbd) are critical to be able to develop and test apps that are destined for anything other than desktop-only status (meaning basically all of them).

Is there a decent combination of hardware and FOSS OS that really fits today's agile/mobile developer?

This thread has and will attract a great number of malcontents (selection bias?) but it's sufficient to say that the changes made to OS X, over the protests of power users, has significantly increased the value of the brand. Mac sales, after succumbing to a small dip in 2013, are now back at an all time high. [0]

[0] http://www.statista.com/statistics/276308/global-apple-mac-s...

So this appears to be the result of popularization, or appealing to the bottom line consumer, the one that throws away an old computer to buy a brand new one instead of replacing components piecemeal. The bottom line is: OS X's changes are not made for you, and you're right to switch to something that suits your needs. Additionally, the claims of ineptitude are misplaced, given the information about their recent sales. It appears to be what consumers want.

As a Windows and Linux user, I was expecting some technical information about what made him quit. There wasn't anything specific as to why those problems occurred.

My brother had his first Macbook Air a few months back and he didn't do the Yosemite upgrade as well. When I ask him, why? He replied, "I don't think the update have anything for me."

That directory merge issue really was annoying. I had LaTeX installed and it spent a good three hours merging the LaTeX install directory. I restarted the install once because I thought it had gotten hung, but when it happened again after I restarted I found the debug console and realized what it was doing.

Yosemite really did have an extremely poor install process.

It's interesting to hear about OSX crashing. I didn't think that was common. I've been a linux user for the longest time, and have always had to tweak something to get it running the way that I wanted to. That doesn't bother me since I like to do that kind of stuff. That and the fact that I've never had any problems with linux crashing, especially compared to Windows, has kept me on linux. But I know a lot of people who left linux for OSX because they didn't like to tweak things and just wanted to get things done.

A friend recently switched from a mac laptop at work to a windows laptop which surprised me. While she has always been a windows user, I was surprised that OSX didn't convert her to the platform. I also noticed that as more and more people start using macs, I hear more and more grumbling about them.

> It's interesting to hear about OSX crashing. I didn't think that was common.

It's not – on any of the recent operating systems in normal usage, crashes are rare and usually a sign of failed hardware.

> I also noticed that as more and more people start using macs, I hear more and more grumbling about them.

That's largely a function of popularity and time, particularly since we're well past the point where people have had time to accumulate custom/broken settings and install a ton of system-altering crud. I'm sure if everyone switched to Linux today, they'd start by talking about how much faster it is and within a few years be complaining about how the same system is slow and unreliable, particularly if they'd ever installed software written by a large company.

"I'm sure if everyone switched to Linux today, they'd start by talking about how much faster it is and within a few years be complaining about how the same system is slow and unreliable"

Not at all. Linux isn't windows. I don't know if that happens to OSX, but adding slow software to linux only slows the system when the software is running. The best example of that would be flash, which will bring a linux box to its knees. Once you kill the flash process, everything is back to normal.

Apple is probably glad to be rid of nerd/hardcore users.

> Apple is probably glad to be rid of nerd/hardcore users.

Well, they aren't "rid of nerd/hardcore users." There's plenty of "hardcore users" who use Macs, and more and more try it out or completely switch over every year.

Also, why would a company who develops an operating system targeted towards creative users and developers be "glad to be rid of" such an important demographic?

I must agree with the author on the issue of software quality coming out of Apple. Perhaps slowing down and concentrating on quality is something Apple should really consider. We do NOT need a new release of the OSX every single year. Further, I think they should really decouple the OS from the other included Applications, like Mail or Face Time. Basically I would love to see OSX ship with Finder and Preview, and the rest of the usually included apps be an optional download.

I don't understand why the Copy of OSX I am running should dictate which copy of Mail, Safari, FaceTime, or iTunes I use. Also, I would really love to see Apple package at least 2 release worth of API libraries in each release, so that apps that have yet to be updated to the latest OSX could still run without issues.

A lot of people here default to Ubuntu for Linux (including me), but I encourage those who are moving from OSX to give Fedora 21 [1] a shot - The Gnome 3.14 UI and the systemd integration is a wonderful experience.

If I was not so vested in the whole debian ecosystem, Fedora 21 would have been perfect.

For those who have only ever used OSX, you should know that you need a USB stick to build a bootable LiveUSB - this allows you to try Linux without actually installing it on your Mac [2]

[1] https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/

[2] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_Live_US...

Oddly enough, I switched from Ubuntu Linux to OS X because of upgrade pains of my own -- regressions in the Intel display drivers on my older hardware, suffering performance as a result of Unity, and cloud services making changes to messaging protocols in ways that constantly broke Pidgin/libpurple/Empathy.

At one point, I had a workflow consisting of a Chromebook + Chrome + GMail + Secure Shell[0] + Linux VPS running Ubuntu Linux. It worked pretty well so long as I could rely on there being a fast, low-latency, stable internet connection (say, at a university). Then I moved to the Bay Area. ;)

[0] Chrome Extension which purportedly contains OpenSSH compiled for Portable Native Client so that it can run inside Chrome. Convenient, but YMMV for the paranoid.

Have you tried other Linux distributions before the move?

I had been dabbling with couple of big distributions - RHEL, Debian, SuSE, Knoppix, and maybe one or two others - when dual-booting on an older machine before I switched to Ubuntu; each one had problems with some hardware or another (sound, dial-up modem, required a DVD drive for installation, monitor, and later, Wi-Fi adapter) whereas Ubuntu just worked.

I also tried Arch Linux both in a VPS and in a Virtual Machine after switching to OS X, but at some point realized that I had more money and far less free time to spend tinkering with config files than when I was in middle school.

Sometimes I look at the latest Intel-based Surface Pros and wonder whether it makes sense to go back to Microsoft-land.

I think the system upgrade experience in Windows 8 is much better than OS X is these days. That was my tipping point.

I run Win8 full time now (on a Macbook Pro), and virtualise linux with Virtual Box. It's very solid and you can 'do everything' as well as live in a terminal.

A lot of people are commenting about various OSX changes that they perceive as regressions over the years ... But no one has commented on my pet peeve so I'm going to share it in hopes that someone else out there will commiserate with me. They changed the default system-wide keybinding for option-b, option-f, option-d and friends -- now instead of invoking useful text manipulation operations (which are hard-wired into my psyche after years of emacs use), these key-codes now print useless unicode characters... First thing I do on a clean-install of osx is change the keyboard binding -- but its incredibly annoying that these bindings don't work when I sit down at someone else's mac ...

I'm curious if using a tiny computer such as ODROID-XU3 running Ubuntu and a Widows laptop could work for web development.

The pocket computer needs to be battery powered, able to run virtual machines and have ethernet/wifi. SSH and Cygwin gnome-terminal (for tabs) could be used to connect from the Windows laptop.

I have been using Ubuntu for many years but there are a number of windows audio applications that do not run well under wine or OSX. This setup would allow me to do web development using Vagrant VMs, Photoshop etc and switch to audio work without having to reboot.

I have tried running Ubuntu guest VMs from windows and it's not always ideal for development. There are issues with VMs inside VM that a pocket computer would not have.

I am like the author. Natively, I just use Google Chrome, iTerm2, and Android Studio. Otherwise, I don't really do anything else (well, I do a lot from the CLI, thanks homebrew). It's an amazing experience though. No complaints.

I will say my 2009 MBP core 2 duo with an HDD is slow and painful to use, but I upgraded to the top of the line in 2014 and I'm very happy. It doesn't really surprise me. I mean, come on. What computer is he using? If he bought a new one I'm sure there would be no problems. If you can't afford it, you probably shouldn't be buying Apple anyway. It's like a poor person complaining that skiing is too expensive. Duh.

The author didn't really say anything about performance, other than long upgrade times; nothing about the computer being slow and painful to use. Pretty much everything was software related. I doubt cost is even an issue. There are plenty who conclude Apple hardware is great, and purchase it to run Linux. Linus Torvalds himself used to have a MacBook Air as his personal machine, and he says his kids still have MBAs.


I was planning to move to OSX and then Yosemite happened! Been running Windows 10 Technical Preview for 2 months on an i5, 12GB laptop and it's been pretty stable. Just rebooted the machine yesterday after 4-5 days of heavy use; it didn't even need the reboot. Even computer viruses seem to have been plugged. My only grudge is with the Web Development environment and unavailability of XCode on Windows. I use Ubuntu exclusively for all web development work.

Trying to make Windows 8, OSX and Ubuntu Unity more like mobile OSes was a really bad move. All that people want is a great desktop experience, why make a small 5" touchscreen the inspiration for the desktop?!

I've said multiple times that I use OS X because it's the only unix with netflix.

Apparently that's changed. I haven't tried the latest ubuntu with chrome and netflix, but if it does indeed work I think I may try switching.

I'm on the latest xubuntu and just popped open chrome stable and checked - it works! I was even able to send it to my chromecast.

I'm getting the same feeling lately with OS X. I think part of the feeling stems from other operating systems improving, thus making OS X not as attractive by comparison. I switched to OS X in 2007. At that point, Windows was a mess, and most Linux distros were hard to configure. OS X seemed like a breeze back then. Nowadays, Windows has improved a lot, and a lot of Linux distros have greatly improved their usability. OS X just doesn't stand out like it used to.

To top it off, Apple has shifted their focus from 'it just works' to 'buy a new iPhone/iPad for no reason'.

My term for OP's agony is mud wrestling.

I feel the pain:

<rant> YMMV

#1 Problem in Computing: Poorly written documentation to explain the system, tool, program, whatever. The OP had this problem.

#2 Problem in Computing: System management as in hard/software selection, installation, configuration, monitoring, updating. The OP had this problem, too.

#2.1 Special Problem: System security. The source of my most recent case of mud wrestling.

#3 Problem in Computing: Hard/software design that results in tools that are efficient and effective to use. Yup, OP had this problem.

#4 Problem in Computing: Everything else. Maybe OP didn't have any of these problems!

YMMV </rant>

Photoshop remains the reason I haven't used Linux as my primary OS for a couple years now. I held out for a long time, but it's just a singularly useful piece of software with no reasonable equivalents.

I use Windows but Gimp is my "go to" graphic design app. It's a solid alternative to Photoshop.

Gimp is comparatively terrible at a higher level. 3D, vector, text, smart objects, adjustment layers, ... if you are in any industry that relies on Photoshop beyond basic usage, it's very difficult to be with second string alternatives. This is just how things are in the wild, but I find it baffling that this is still the case after so many years.

It really isn't, not for professional (web) designer work at least. It might be ok for removing a couple of red eyes, but honestly the interface is so clunky it's just a PITA to use.

yeah, Gim ps is best after photoshop you should also check the browser based http://www.toolpic.com Photoshop Online Free

Windows is the reason I don't use Photoshop but, instead, use Gimp for all my needs.

Absolutely, windows is still a disaster. For developers working with open source technologies, windows is a difficult platform to use. I was attending a workshop on Angular.js and rails where I had the misfortune to have brought my windows 8.1 machine with me. Everyone, including myself, who had a windows machine could not get going with any of the workshop material.

If you develop with Rails do it on a VM, even a headless server you ssh into and export the filesystem to your Windows editor. Ruby on Windows is an inferior experience, because most of the developers in the ecosystem are on Mac and Linux. The servers are on Linux.

I can recommend trying a chromebook. You get a "linux" (crouton) laptop with excellent battery life and you don't have to spend hours upon hours of wrestling with custom wifi firmware, etc. The only drawback is that disk space is extremely limited, and there is still no real "mid-range" version (they all seem to have shitty non-IPS screens except Toshiba's latest). Also if you press space bar and then enter upon booting it'll wipe your chroot! :-) And if you need virtualization or custom kernels, also probably not a good fit.

I got fed up the other week and on a whim switched to Xubuntu on my 2013 MBA and other than no drivers for the PCI based webcam (Apple webcams no longer sit on the USB bus) which I barely used anyway, everything is pretty much fine apart from a few quirks (Trackpad settings and brightness control which were easily fixed). I had a Time Machine backup just in case if I hated it.

If anything after spending years using various distros on servers it makes sense to start using it on the desktop too as it is exactly the same experience I'm used to, with a bonus of a GUI.

I just do not get why people complain about Pulse.

Don't get me wrong, I think Poettering is a blight on the Linux landscape but I've installed pulseaudio dozens of times and never had a problem once.

Counter-anecdote: over several years and across multiple installs, I've experienced intermittent stuttering, multi-second latency, and random crazy-high CPU usage. Uninstalling Pulse and going back to alsa in each case completely fixed the problem, with no noticeable loss in functionality.

I've used Linux exclusively as my desktop OS since 1999 - I'm happy to mess with things till they work. I've never had a piece of software frustrate me so much. It made me feel like I was taking crazy pills; everyone else seemed fine with such an obviously broken addition to Linux, worse yet they standardized around it.

Basically, you got lucky, I didn't. Leads to a very different perspectives!

Yosemite is turning out to be like Windows Vista. It's a shame because I have such good memories of the real Yosemite National Park.

Dang it, why did they have to use Yosemite as the name of this OS?

I appreciate the points made, but without comparisons on a point-by-point basis, I'm still left wondering what the specific linux runes are to replace OS X - even for this one user.

More damning than the lack of personal connection, though, was the complete lack of transparency and general decline in software quality, as I perceived it.

It seems that these frustrations against OS X is a mismatch to this user's minimalist requirements: a mail client, iTerm, and a web browser. The OS X ecosystem caters a wide net of users ranging from the pink keyboards of middle school girls to the coffee-infused palms of college students.

I was a diehard Mac user for nearly 15 years and just recently switched back to Windows (bought a Surface Pro 3). Couldn't imagine going back at this point. I'm one of the few people that actually likes Windows 8 and it sings on the Surface. There are a lot of things I miss about the Mac, specifically the high quality independent apps but having a super portable machine that can serve as my tablet and my laptop is so much nicer than my MBP/iPad combo.

What frustrates me most in the recent time is the wall of bugs I face in Mac OS X and Safari particularly. It is getting so ridiculous that even some Apple-pages do not work in Safari for me, s.t. I have to switch to Chrome to get the content. For example, opening this URL:


results in just a white page in the latest Safari on Yosemite.

According to the article, the author was using Firefox, a non-Apple mail client and a non-Apple terminal client. That made quitting OS X of course not that difficult …

In spite of all annoying and time-consuming issues with OS X, I could not afford to switch to Linux, especially not in a business context. SaaS could help, however, the leading SaaS provider are US-based and I can therefore not used them for legal reasons, e.g., due to data privacy legislation.

It's meaningless to comment on the 'usability' of 'Linux'. That's the only fault I'm finding in what is otherwise quite a good piece of consumer feedback, highlighting the lack of choice given to users throughout the life cycle of proprietary operating systems. A major issue is the necessitation of online accounts and the focus on sharing content, which is still completely irrelevant to many users.

In the escape to Linux, I encourage looking at Fedora. Fedora 21 marked the start of an effort to create a developer-focused "Fedora Workstation" version of Fedora (alongside Fedora Server and Fedora Cloud products). I've been using it since its first release last month and I've been really impressed. Check it out: https://getfedora.org/

Apple is a hardware company, plain and simple. Software is always going to be a second class citizen in their ecosystem. I was really mad at Apple during the switch from 68k to PPC and they completely lost me when going from Mac OS Classic to OSX.

If you chose Mac and you're looking to use a platform for a decent amount of time without upgrading hardware or having your environment break, you're going to have a bad time

Weird, productivity was the reason I quit Linux. I spent nearly half my time 'tweaking' things to make it run the way I wanted, instead of getting things done. I honestly love Yosemite. Still searching for the "iOSification" people talk of though.

Meh, to each their own. It always amuses me though that people have to tell the world why they're going to switch to a different OS.

I find it interesting how much agreement there is, not just that OS X is now declining, but that Snow Leopard in particular was the high point.

After running Yosemite from an upgrade for a long while, I recently did a complete disk wipe and a fresh install without using my time machine backups. This is just one data point, but the effort was worthwhile because my system feels faster and more solid.

I had done Time machine installs for years, and I probably had a lot of cruft.

I find that OS X (even 10.10) is perfectly usable after applying many of the famous dotfile hacks by mathias bynens: https://github.com/mathiasbynens/dotfiles/blob/master/.osx

These restore my sanity :)

I find it peculiar that he spends the whole post complaining about OS X and then proceeds to say that he switched to an alternative that he considers "markedly inferior" to OS X. Doesn't seem like there was value to his quitting at all besides a "change of scenery".

I have primarily used Linux on the desktop, and then laptop, since 1995. It wasn't always painless. Still occasionally is not painless. But, neither is Mac OS X or Windows, and the Linux desktop/laptop experience is, by far, the best it's ever been. The pain just takes different shapes, and I've never seriously considered switching to Windows or Mac for my primary OS, though I've always had a Windows partition available to boot into and I've occasionally had a Hackintosh to play with.

When it comes down to it, the conveniences Linux gives me far overshadow the minor pains of having to Google hardware before I buy it to make sure there are drivers. Even on this front, I've almost completely stopped doing it...I've bought several pieces of hardware on a whim in the past few years without thinking, "Oh, wait, will this work?" then plugging it in and have it Just Work. No driver installation, no Googling for errors, just a working camera, sound card, MIDI controller, etc. The major hardware makers, like GPU and network vendors, are all on board. If you buy quality hardware, it is almost certainly gonna work with Linux (and all that old hardware that stopped working with Windows several years ago, due to no new drivers, is still working in modern Linux; this is true for me of two 24 bit audio interfaces, and a MIDI controller).

The command line experience of Linux is simply superior to the alternatives. Mac OS has bash, sure, but all the stuff is in the wrong place with crazy long paths, and all of the software is installed via ornery dysfunctional package bundles from Apple (or from an alternative source, like MacPorts or similar; I truly hate the package management situation on Mac OS X). The command line feels clumsy and bolted on, even though there's UNIX at the core of Mac OS X.

Actually, a huge part of it probably comes down to package management, for me. Package management is so bad on Windows and Mac OS X, and so good on Linux (yum and apt are just really excellent), that I feel a little dirty installing stuff on those platforms. Being able to choose from thousands of packages, especially developer packages, having all the Perl modules I use already packaged and easy to install, having all the Go and node stuff packaged up nicely and ready for tinkering, having a lot of the system built on Python and shell scripts with the source readily available, all of this stuff just adds up to a tinkerers dream.

I feel like I learn something new when I figure out problems on Linux; I feel like I'm being punished when I run into problems on Mac OS X or Windows, even if I get them solved. It's just such a different feeling. I'm sure for someone who isn't technically minded, the experience would be the same...an opaque system that isn't working right. But, for me, when I'm able to patch something and send it off to the maintainer, I feel happy and content. I feel frustration when I run into problems on Mac OS X or Windows. All systems of the size and complexity of a modern OS have problems, it's just a difference of how they get resolved that makes the difference.

Great post, mirrors my experiences as well.

I hadn't thought of how great package management was on linux, there are many systems and the ones I've used work very well. Installing software on Windows is positively scary. You can't really remove programs completely unless you do some registry hacking... fun, fun, fun!

I did the same last year. 2 weeks and I moved my life out of the Apple ecosystem to Win 7/android. It's nice to feel happy to sit at a computer again and have everything just work and feel mine again.

I recommend you look at your options and consider the same.

My solution has been to have multiple computers at my desk. Windows for "serious work" (like playing music, youtube videos), and a text-only linux machine (well, a fullscreened terminal emulator, I need the GUI for clipboard functionality).

For me it's the fact that so many of the new wave of techs are mainly focused on Linux. Docker being one. I think OSX is losing it's hacker status. Linux as an open source OS will eventually take over in this market.

Am I the only person who likes Yosemite? The interface is cleaner, spotlight isn't useless anymore, and messages now works with regular texts as well. Nothing is really broken from previous releases either...

Somebody should start a new computer company (out of your garage of course) by customizing Linux for Mac hardware and call it Orange

Orange computers in a nutshell:

- beautiful hardware

- minimal OS features. no bloat.

- works out of the box

- a solid Unix environment for development

Is there a faster file search than in linux in the latest FileBrowser(gnome/nautilus) . It's crazy fast ,no indexing and finds files in huge hard disks in seconds .

Kind of lame that Geoff cites usability issues as being the main reason he switched to Linux, then tweets that usability issues weren't the reason he switched.

I don't get it.

Why do some people hate Launchpad? I use it all the time and I like it.

If you don't like it just remove the Launchpad icon from the dock and don't hit the F4 key.

I made the same switch a year ago and I'm happier back in Linux.

It was the breakage of Spotlight-Preview integration that removed my last reason to stay on OS X.

He should try windows 7. I have experience doing many different computery tasks (cad, photoshop, making music, programming,making games + the usual) on linux, windows and osx (+ messing with android and iOS (and DOS and the c64's os back in the day)) Windows 7 is in my opinion the best modern OS for personal productivity ie. getting stuff done without much fuss. I also feel in control of it. I have it set up exactly the way I want (for best performance) and updates are very unintrusive and tend to mainly be security updates.

Just trying to get itunes to work on a PC was enough to make me swear off Apple products . Like windows 8, too much clutter and other annoynces

@inancgumus: @newsycombinator Completely disagree. Only agree with Launchpad and it does not decrease any usability either.

I don't think Yosemite is as bad as people are making out; there have been some odd bugs, but many of them are caused by odd legacy migrations from old laptops or botched upgrades it seems. A fresh install seems to fix many problems experienced by many.

Even if OS X Yosemite is buggy, I don't think it's worth the switch to Linux for a desktop machine. It's a step backwards.

I never [bought] a Mac, always looked like a control freak's dream, a step down from even Windows, let alone Linux.

Personally, I switched to Linux in the late 90s as my full-time daily operating system, and kept it that way for nearly a decade. Then I was issued a Mac at a new job.

And... I don't understand the "control freak" comment, because OS X quickly became my daily OS. Adjustment consisted of learning a couple new GUI conventions, and the BSD-ish flavor of OS X's underlying Unix tools as opposed to the GNU stuff I knew.

Ten years ago I spent most of my productive time in a terminal window, running irssi, Emacs and a variety of shells inside screen. Today I spend most of my productive time in a terminal window, running irssi, Emacs and a variety of shells inside screen.

For non-productive stuff, I went from having a browser, music and video player, and some games to having a browser, music and video player, and some games.

Steve Jobs never broke into my house and uninstalled stuff or DRM'd my existing music collection. OS X has never said "I can't let you do that, Dave". Stuff works how I expect it to, and I have access to a wider variety of non-progammer-y software now, plus an OS that's easy to keep relatively safe when I want to recommend to a non-technical friend or relation.

So perhaps you could elaborate on what "control freak" elements are affecting me without my knowledge?

> always looked like a control freak's dream

How so?

I completely disagree. Only agree on Launchpad and it does not decrease any usability either.

Now I'm curious if Steve Wozniak still uses OS X...?

To me, this guy is a drama queen. More like, getting old and refusing to learn. "Mac OS X is not personal anymore." Really?

another guy who needs it to be complicated to feel superior about his computer skills. Messages in Yosemite is amazing. sms and phone calls perfect. hand off is a revelation. and it's just damn gorgeous

Remember that Macs are primarily sold to consumers looking for a nice home laptop, students, and certain creative professionals. If Linux is even an option for you, and you're reading and commenting here, that says you are probably not in any of those groups.

I've used Macs since 1984, and I'm on my second MBA, following two MBPs and too many Apple desktops to count. I have also owned many, many Windows PCs. My work is almost entirely on servers running Linux. I am familiar with all three setups.

As a developer Windows is too much of a pain, mainly because it's not Unix, so I can't even come close to duplicating a typical server setup. Windows has steadily improved over the years but I soured on it a long time ago, and even now I wonder how serious developers can use it, unless they are developing for Windows. Typical Windows laptops are terrible quality (I buy one or two every year for my kids), and the nicer Windows laptops are just as expensive as a MacBook, but with worse battery life, and of course they're running Windows. If you think OSX has been polluted with iOS ideas, look at what happened with Windows 8.

I'd love to run Linux on a laptop, and I've done it a few times, but the overall experience always gets frustrating. I can live with tracking down drivers and fixing incompatibilities during an install, but I don't want to keep doing it. Having software at every level -- drivers, OS components, applications -- coming at me from so many uncoordinated sources just creates a level of DLL Hell (shared libraries and drivers) that makes me wistful for Windows 98. Linux is a good server OS, but as a desktop/laptop OS it's an also-ran for a variety of reasons that everyone here already knows.

I travel a lot (digital nomad, I guess) so overall build quality (durability) and battery life are the most important features in a laptop, for me. The MBA and MBP are clearly the best available right now, though I've seen high-end Lenovo and Sony laptops that appear equivalent to my Macbook, but with poorer battery life (I get 9 hours on my 13" MBA), and the same or higher price tag. I don't have time or patience to waste non-billable hours trying to twist the OS and UI into my vision of perfection. I don't even want a desktop background picture. I'm not a teenager trying to personalize everything.

Most Mac users are not going to install a lot of apps, or try to tweak the OS, or make many demands on their system that Apple didn't anticipate. For most Mac users the experience is good out of the box. The more you fuss with it the more likely you will break something, or introduce an incompatibility, or get some crap application or browser extension on it. Developers and hackers (and gamers) are most prone to this, and they will struggle with their computer no matter who made it or what OS it runs. They're like teenagers customizing a car, then complaining that their Toyota Corolla isn't reliable, gets poor gas mileage, and overheats now that they've overriden all of the defaults and tweaked it to suit their personal style.

I'm not saying OSX is perfect for me out of the box, but it's close enough. I don't need to bolt a spoiler on the back, lower the springs, install new rims, and replace the fuel injection chip. I've disabled Launchpad (easy), Dashboard (easy), excessive notifications (easy), iCloud (reasonably easy), transparent windows (easy), accessibility/usability shortcuts and gestures I don't like (easy), and installed some newer versions of Unix apps I use (usually easy, but can go wrong -- try doing it on Windows). I don't like iPhoto taking over when I plug my phone in but I managed to turn that off -- maybe it helps that I use an Android phone.

My MBA is used at least four hours every day and travels in a backpack. It's up for weeks at a time, I usually only have to reboot it for an OS upgrade or patch, or if I run the battery dead. I use Yosemite, it seems OK, no better or worse than previous OSX releases. I don't have problems with wi-fi, audio, overheating, or battery life. Maybe I'm just lucky but that's been my experience with every Apple laptop, and it has not been my experience with any Windows or Linux laptop.

Macs and OSX have real issues, sure, and there's no reason not to discuss them. But if you are experiencing frequent crashes, freezes, bugs, dead battery, etc. it's most likely because of something you've done, or maybe a faulty machine, than a conspiracy at Apple or a decline in their software QA. Just remember that you are by definition not the mass market Apple sells to. That mass market is very happy with Apple's products, as their sales and stock price continue to demonstrate.

Disclaimer: I worked for Apple more than 25 years ago, I have nothing to do with the company anymore except as a user of their products.

FYI this was not posted by 'the Woz', but rather by the unrelated Geoff Wozniak. I imagine many others may have clicked through owing to the domain.

Someone else is being downvoted into oblivion for using the term "link bait" so I'll tread carefully here, but this is the second time I've ended up on Geoff Wozniak's blog as a result of a headline that, on its own, is just as uninteresting as "some guy decides he doesn't like latest version of OS X", yet coming from Steve Wozniak it would definitely be worth reading.

It's not link-baity in the sense that there's really anything wrong with using your own name for your blog (although try telling that to Mike Rowe), but it's link-baity in the context of HN where the domain shows up with equal importance to the headline and where the name "Wozniak" is very clearly associated with one and only one person.

I think the "flag" link is unfit for purpose and should be moved & changed. Firstly, it should appear on the comments page as well as the listing pages. Secondly, there should be multiple reasons for flagging (or a free-text, one-line reason field), so that it's at least possible to flag a misleading headline for alteration, without the possibility that the entire submission could be flag-killed.

I even agree with the poster about certain issues with OS X. It's particularly annoying as someone that recently switched away from Windows, after finally losing patience with Microsoft's similarly erosive programme of needless tinkering and randomly breaking stuff in lieu of tangible improvements. However, I don't come to HN to read opinions that agree with my existing world-view and pat myself on the back for being right (or at least, that's not my main reason).

I am however interested in opinions that are not just from "some guy" but which represent the defection of a key figure, such as "DHH: why I've finally given up on Ruby" or "RMS: why closed-source is better after all". I would definitely read those and would be equally disappointed if the author turned out to be an unrelated namesake.

It would be nice if a moderator would update the title to, "Why Geoff Wozniak Quit OS X."

Thanks for the suggestion. We updated the title to remove the ambiguity.

Yes and I chuckled at the mental image of woz using the term "shitshow". Only to be disappointed when I got the bottom of the page and saw it was written by a Geoff. Good article, though.

Exactly where I chuckled thinking of woz.

Thanks for pointing this out. I had no clue.

Yes, I didn't either.

Wozniak is a very common Polish surname and is in the top 10 of most popular surnames there. I didn't think it was The Woz especially since it has a Canadian tld.

Anyway that might be my Polish bias talking, but I don't see how many could have made that mistake.

Op wrote a good piece. It stands on its own unrelated to his surname.

that would be woz.org

Part of me thinks this is a bit sleazy. He knows how recognizable the name "Wozniak" is, and doubly so if he's going to be running a tech blog and posting about Aplle related things. Would gregwozniak.ca or gwozniak.ca been that much worse? It would be infinitely less confusing and link-baity.

If his last name is in fact Wozniak, I'm not sure I see a problem.

I don't see why happening to have a famous person with your last name means you can't use your last name for a domain. If a) Ira Remsen was still alive and b) I was a food blogger instead of a tech enthusiast, I wouldn't hesitate to buy remsen.com or remsen.food (if i wanted it) just because Ira happened to invent artificial sweeteners.

Why would the Woz have a .ca domain? That tipped me off that this might not be him.

I definitely clicked and read the entire article only because I thought it was written by Woz. I agree, it is link-baity and misleading.

EDIT: Holy down votes. Don't know what to say. I thought it was Woz, sosume. All I did was agree with the less-downvoted parent.

EDIT 2: Hive mind crit axotty for 9999.

You thought Woz was Canadian?

It's the guys name. Using ones own name cannot be linkbaity or misleading.

Many people interpret 'ca' as 'California'. The same way 'it' it not always Italy, and 'mx' is not always Mexico.

It is when your name is identical to the co-Founder's name. It's link-baity by the fact that many people were baited into clicking that link under false pretenses.

I'm not accusing this Wozniak of malice, however.

I didn't look at the TLD I just clicked. I thought Woz was ditching OS X, I got excited. I was baited.

If it means anything, amidst all of the downvotes I completely agree with you.

About 50 pixels to the left of the title is "Geoff Wozniak"...furthermore, I don't think it's fair to disparage people with names that happen to be shared by celebrities.

I was on Safari on iOS, it didn't appear until the end of the article.

I'm going to commit the cardinal sin of meta-commenting twice on the same submission and rhetorically ask why anyone would be downvoting the parent?

To clarify the stated fact: the name appears in the left margin on an iPad, just like on a desktop browser at normal width. However on an iPhone, it appears at the bottom of the page. It does the same thing if your browser window is set to less than 768px wide.

It's not hard to see how in those circumstances, someone could be misled into thinking that the article's author was Woz, especially if they didn't read all the way to the end.

Um, okay? This is like being told why someone switched office chairs.

This only got to the top of Hacker News because of this guy's last name.

I think the notion of OS X being pretty good until up to 10.6 and then getting worse, with many new features feeling "strategic" (for Apple) instead of useful resonates with people. I have this impression too, at least.

If you look at the comments, it seems like a lot of people agree and are glad to have an opportunity to vent about how OS X has gotten worse lately.

You don't think that the pros and cons of different operating systems are germaine to hackers? I don't get it.

Apple's screwing it up with software. Too bad because they undoubtedly had the best OS ever.

I remember seeing a few posts here and there where people complained about performance degrading each time they upgraded OS X. My last 3 laptops had been Mac's (a White Macbook, then a Macbook Pro from 2010, then a Retina Macbook Pro from these days...) and while I feel 'satisfied' I also kind of noticed that performance is always worse, and somehow the more I upgrade, the more I feel like a pain the ass when I use that computer. Since there are no serious benchmarks on to this (I wonder why) I always thought that it was more of a 'feeling' than something real, or that maybe, sure there was a bit more lag but I'm running more 'advanced' software.

So yeah, that was me dreaming about how $4,000+ dollars on laptops had not gone down the drain when I paid a visit to an old friend. I asked my friend to borrow his computer because I needed to check an email and he did. Old friend's Macbook is one of these [1], that is, a laptop that wasn't even top of the line TEN YEARS AGO. I've opened and became surprised that battery still worked. "Dude, have you ever replaced the battery on this?" "Nope" "Weird, maybe he just doesn't use it too much"... Laptop woke up almost immediately, it had OS X Tiger running... Tiger... not even leopard.

And then I started using it... HOLY F* (excuse the expletives) I WISH MY F* RETINA MACBOOK WORKED LIKE THAT. Everything was smooth, Firefox opened like immediately (no SSD obv. but ok maybe it was already on RAM), I was able to finish my work and read a few articles and I felt really comfortable the whole time, and I want to clarify on this, I didn't felt that I was using a computer to do my work, that was kind of the magic that Apple products used to have (all of them, even iPods...). Now I'm always like, oh I gotta do this, click ... wait ... open this ... wait ... send this ... wait ... change this setting ... wait. Now I can state it for sure, Apple is really screwing it up on its software.

I haven't dropped Apple because fortunately for them, most other laptops feel even worst (at least they haven't screwed the trackpad yet...) but as soon as a well-made Linux notebook appears I'm out.

[1] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/MacBook_P...

> My last 3 laptops had been Mac's (a White Macbook, then a Macbook Pro from 2010, then a Retina Macbook Pro from these days...) and while I feel 'satisfied' I also kind of noticed that performance is always worse, and somehow the morethe more I upgrade, the more I feel like a pain the ass when I use that computer.

Are you using SSD or normal HDD?

SSD on retina.

How much RAM?


Soooo.... ?

I'm currently using a Macbook with 4GB of RAM with normal HDD and using Mavericks is kinda painful. MKBHD's demo on a Mac Mini with SSD looks blazing fast [1] so I thought I should buy a new Mac with 8GB RAM & SSD but your experience tells otherwise. Now I'm not so sure...

[1] http://youtu.be/G_H6mRHS9pc?t=3m10s

This should be deleted from Hacker News,complete waste of our time. Linux or OS X is a preference and based on needs and personal preference. Who cares about this person on why they left OS X. Idiots.

+1 I feel the same way. HN moderators have basically ruined the website. All kinds of silly news and stories have been on the main page for quite some time now. Forget about all the hacker quality content anymore.

Wow, talk about clickbait.

I warned about this back in the day, when iOSification was on the horizon. The trouble started after Steve Jobs died. Yes, iOS before him had problems but nothing like what came after. The obsession with "wheeee we can get rid of all skeumorphism" caused Apple to become a follower and not an innovator, and took away focus from things that really mattered.

What a lame post. If his goal is to make his life easier, working on Linux every day is a laughable solution.

Odd. Some of us have happily used Linux on various laptops since an i387 coprocessor was desirable upgrade.

I was about to quit OS X, because of problems like those :

- MacBook Pro fans -> rocket mode

- Mail app is not enough sync with my iPhone -> only 1 kind of flag available

- I'm working with dropbox, and when I want to use Pages on iCloud, I'm obliged to move my file in the special iCloud directory... so annoying

- When I edit some stuff on my Pages app, it's not possible for anybody to read/edit the file online (iCloud.com). Also the SaaS is really slow compare to Google Drive.

- Message app is not totally sync on my devices... I mean when I read a message on one device, it's still unread on an other...

- iTunes isn't so easy to use...

- safari isn't so cool compare to chrome or firefox

- right click "new file" DOESN'T EXIST

- etc.

Then I realized Linux, Ubuntu are not so sync either and have many other problems and Windows isn't an option.

Do we have the choice after all ? I'm still waiting for the futur OS 11 to fulfill my queries...

Have you come to accept your Lord and Savior Arch Linux?

Seriously though, you are so quick to discard Linux. What's wrong with tinkering a little with the OS to set it up initially? Seems that's that most current professional OS X users are expected to be doing as well. Might as well put that energy into something that doesn't break constantly without you knowing why.


I shudder a little when I read about people dismissing Linux because of Unity. You haven't gotten the full Linux tour until you've tried out a few WMs - it is painless, riskless and pretty fun. You'll find something that is close to your needs and then realise that you can actually customise EVERYTHING.

That WM was i3 for me, but my point isn't to spam my personal preference and/or preach: There's so much stuff out there; something will work for you. Make it your own.

I'm sure this guy is savvy but I think that he gets much more credence due to his last name being Wozniak. Sorry but any post saying "why I did ____" seems to rub me the wrong way. I would have much more respect for a post that outlined issues found and how to reproduce them than a "I'm tired of this so you should be too" kind of post. personally I don't ca if you know or like/dislike what I use to work. If I wanted apple or anyone else to fix a problem I would file a bug report for this items I can't deal with as opposed to throwing a hissyfit about how my needs aren't being met by a company.

How do you fix complaints like "Apple aren't forthcoming with information about updates"? Get hired at Apple, work your way up the chain until you're a bigwig, and implement a new policy contrary to their current corporate culture? It's not like people aren't already begging them for more info. Filing a bug report isn't going to improve that.

Seems like a bit of a high bar you've set there for the author.

I didn't get a "...so you should be too" vibe from this post, nor from most "why I did ___" posts that I've read.

Remove this article, not relevant to this site and why he left OS X means nothing to anyone else or the hackers out here. I use both and love OS X, but does anyone care why?


Given that the name "Geoff Wozniak" is plaster on the side of the article, I'd assume the author bears little, if any, relation to Steve Wozniak of Apple fame.

The article was written by Geoff Wozniak, not Steve Wozniak. Different guy.

This is not Steve "Woz" but Geoff Wozniakz.

Geoff Wozniak, not Steve FYI.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact